The NLRP1 inflammasomes

Immunol Rev. 2015 May;265(1):22-34. doi: 10.1111/imr.12283.


Inflammasomes are cytosolic protein complexes that serve as platforms for the recruitment and activation of the pro-inflammatory CASPASE-1 protease. CASPASE-1 activation leads to processing and maturation of the cytokines interleukin-1β and interleukin-18 and a lytic form of cell death termed pyroptosis. Inflammasome assembly is initiated by cytosolic sensors in response to microbial infections. Many of these sensors, including NLRP1 (NLR family, pyrin domain containing 1), are described to form an inflammasome, but until recently, the mechanism of inflammasome activation and its physiological functions in host defense have remained unclear. In the last few years, important advances in our understanding of NLRP1 biology have been achieved. In this review, we discuss the activation of NLRP1 by various stimuli, including Bacillus anthracis lethal toxin, Toxoplasma gondii, muramyl dipeptide, and host intracellular ATP depletion. The role NLRP1 plays in pathogen recognition and resistance during infection is also discussed, as is the regulation of NLRP1 by host and viral proteins. We conclude by discussing the unexpected differences in the mechanism of NLRP1 inflammasome activation, as compared to the activation of other inflammasomes, such as the NAIP (NLR family, apoptosis inhibitory protein)/NLRC4 inflammasomes.

Keywords: NLRP1; caspase-1; inflammasome; innate immunity; lethal toxin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / immunology
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / immunology
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism*
  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins / immunology
  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Active
  • Infections / immunology*
  • Inflammasomes / immunology
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism*
  • NLR Proteins
  • Neuronal Apoptosis-Inhibitory Protein / immunology
  • Neuronal Apoptosis-Inhibitory Protein / metabolism


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Inflammasomes
  • NLR Proteins
  • NLRC4 protein, human
  • NLRP1 protein, human
  • Neuronal Apoptosis-Inhibitory Protein