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Inflammasome Activation in Response to Eukaryotic Pathogens
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Couillin I., Pétrilli V., Martinon F.
Inflammasomes are multi-protein complexes that serve as platforms for caspase-1 activation and subsequent proteolytic maturation of interkeukin 1ß (IL-1ß) within innate immune cells. The Nlrp3 inflammasome is the most fully characterised. It is activated by various endogenous danger signals such as environmental irritants, signals of tissue damage and pathogens. The broad spectrum of activators is reflected at the physiological level in its implication in normal and dysregulated immune responses, including various autoinflammatory diseases and the defence agaisnt numerous pathogens. Here, we summarise the present data on the activation of the Nlrp3 inflammasome by eukaryotic pathogens. Recent genetic studies using mice deficient in inflammasome components demonstrate the involvement of the inflammasome in the outcome of infection with the fungus Candida albicans, the helminth Schistosoma mansoni, as well as the malarial parasite Plasmodium berghei. Altered immune responses were respectively linked to the ability of live fungi, schistosomal egg antigen (SEA) or malarial hemozoin to activate the inflammasome and induce secretion of mature IL-1ß. The initial findings suggest that inflammasome activation may serve as a common and potentially druggable pathway in the defence agaisnt eukaryotic pathogens
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