The gasdermins, a protein family executing cell death and inflammation

Nat Rev Immunol. 2020 Mar;20(3):143-157. doi: 10.1038/s41577-019-0228-2. Epub 2019 Nov 5.


The gasdermins are a family of recently identified pore-forming effector proteins that cause membrane permeabilization and pyroptosis, a lytic pro-inflammatory type of cell death. Gasdermins contain a cytotoxic N-terminal domain and a C-terminal repressor domain connected by a flexible linker. Proteolytic cleavage between these two domains releases the intramolecular inhibition on the cytotoxic domain, allowing it to insert into cell membranes and form large oligomeric pores, which disrupts ion homeostasis and induces cell death. Gasdermin-induced pyroptosis plays a prominent role in many hereditary diseases and (auto)inflammatory disorders as well as in cancer. In this Review, we discuss recent developments in gasdermin research with a focus on mechanisms that control gasdermin activation, pore formation and functional consequences of gasdermin-induced membrane permeabilization.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Death / physiology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Pyroptosis / physiology


  • Neoplasm Proteins