COPs and POPs: modulators of inflammasome activity

J Immunol. 2007 Dec 15;179(12):7993-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.179.12.7993.


Inflammasomes represent molecular platforms for the activation of inflammatory caspases and are essential for processing and secretion of the inflammatory cytokines IL-1beta and IL-18. Multiple key proteins of inflammasomes contain caspase recruitment domains (CARDs) or pyrin domains (PYDs). Dissecting CARD- and PYD-mediated interactions substantially improved our understanding of the mechanisms by which these protein platforms are activated and emphasized their essential role during the inflammatory cytokine response. However, their precise regulation is still poorly understood. A family of small proteins that are composed of either a CARD or a PYD only emerged as important inflammasome regulators. These CARD-only proteins (COPs) and PYD-only proteins (POPs) function as endogenous dominant negative proteins that modulate the activity of inflammasomes in response to pathogen infection and tissue destruction. In this review we will summarize the most recent advances in the regulation of inflammasomes and highlight their importance for immunity and inflammatory disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-18 / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-1beta / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Pyrin


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Interleukin-18
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • MEFV protein, human
  • Mefv protein, mouse
  • Protein Precursors
  • Proteins
  • Pyrin
  • Caspases