Evasion of inflammasome activation by microbial pathogens

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Activation of the inflammasome occurs in response to infection with a wide array of pathogenic microbes. The inflammasome serves as a platform to activate caspase-1, which results in the subsequent processing and secretion of the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 and the initiation of an inflammatory cell death pathway termed pyroptosis. Effective inflammasome activation is essential in controlling pathogen replication as well as initiating adaptive immune responses against the offending pathogens. However, a number of pathogens have developed strategies to evade inflammasome activation. In this Review, we discuss these pathogen evasion strategies as well as the potential infectious complications of therapeutic blockade of IL-1 pathways.

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