Interferons and inflammasomes: Cooperation and counterregulation in disease

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Interferons and the IL-1 family of cytokines have important roles in host defense against invading viruses and bacteria. Inflammasomes, multimeric cytosolic sensors of infection, are required for IL-1β and IL-18 processing and release. Interferons, IL-1β, and IL-18 are also implicated in autoimmune disease and chronic inflammation. Although independent but complementary pathways induce these cytokine subsets during infection, in some circumstances the cross-talk between these key inflammatory mediators is a particular requirement for effective host defense. In this review we will summarize recent discoveries concerning the potentiation of inflammasome responses by type I interferons, particularly in patients with gram-negative bacterial infections, and reflect on the molecular mechanisms of IFN-β's immunosuppressive effects through modulation of inflammasome and IL-1β signaling in patients with tuberculosis and multiple sclerosis.

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