Canonical activation of the inflammasome is critical to promote caspase-1-dependent maturation of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18, as well as to induce pyroptotic cell death in response to pathogens and endogenous danger signals. Recent discoveries, however, are beginning to unveil new components of the inflammasome machinery as well as the full spectrum of inflammasome functions, extending their influence beyond canonical functions to regulation of eicosanoid storm, autophagy, and metabolism. In addition, the receptor components of the inflammasome can also regulate diverse biological processes, such as cellular proliferation, gene transcription, and tumorigenesis, all of which are independent of their inflammasome complex-forming capabilities. Here, we review these recent advances that are shaping our understanding of the complex biology of the inflammasome and its constituents.
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