AAT Bioquest

What are the 3 main components of an inflammasome?

Posted October 6, 2021


Inflammasomes are large multimeric protein complexes. They are comprised of three basic protein units:

  • A sensor protein – This may include any one of these proteins NLRP1, NLRP2, NLRP3, NLRC4, AIM2, or pyrin. Each sensor molecule responds to different stimuli, creating a unique inflammasome which is named after the sensor molecule. For example, the NLRP3 inflammasome utilizes the NLRP3 sensor molecule. 
  • Pro-caspase 1 – This is a cysteine protease that may initiate or execute certain cellular activities that result in inflammation or cell death. Caspase-1 is the most fully characterized of all caspases. Its catalytic activity is controlled by signal-dependent auto-activation of inflammasome complex that mediate processing of cytokines such as IL-1β, which are caspase-1-dependent.
  • The adaptor ASC (apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a caspase recruitment domain or CARD) - The ASC is associated with all inflammasomes and is critical for activating and perpetuating inflammation. Its primary role is to recruit pro-caspase-1 into the inflammasome.
Additional resources

Cell biology of inflammasome activation

Cell Meter™ Cell Viability Assay Kit *Blue Fluorescence*