Inflammasomes are molecular platforms activated upon cellular infection or stress that trigger the maturation of proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1beta to engage innate immune defenses. Strong associations between dysregulated inflammasome activity and human heritable and acquired inflammatory diseases highlight the importance this pathway in tailoring immune responses. Here, we comprehensively review mechanisms directing normal inflammasome function and its dysregulation in disease. Agonists and activation mechanisms of the NLRP1, NLRP3, IPAF, and AIM2 inflammasomes are discussed. Regulatory mechanisms that potentiate or limit inflammasome activation are examined, as well as emerging links between the inflammasome and pyroptosis and autophagy.
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