NLRP3 is a key component of the macromolecular signaling complex called the inflammasome that promotes caspase 1-dependent production of IL-1β. The adaptor ASC is necessary for NLRP3-dependent inflammasome function, but it is not known whether ASC is a sufficient partner and whether inflammasome formation occurs in the cytosol or in association with mitochondria is controversial. Here, we show that the mitochondria-associated adaptor molecule, MAVS, is required for optimal NLRP3 inflammasome activity. MAVS mediates recruitment of NLRP3 to mitochondria, promoting production of IL-1β and the pathophysiologic activity of the NLRP3 inflammasome in vivo. Our data support a more complex model of NLRP3 inflammasome activation than previously appreciated, with at least two adapters required for maximal function. Because MAVS is a mitochondria-associated molecule previously considered to be uniquely involved in type 1 interferon production, these findings also reveal unexpected polygamous involvement of PYD/CARD-domain-containing adapters in innate immune signaling events.
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