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Inflammasomes are supramolecular micron-sized complexes that assemble in the cytosol adjacent to the nucleus in response to pathogens and other damage-associated signals. The inflammasome assembly leads to the activation of proinflammatory procaspases, hence is usually involved in innate immunity and inflammation. The core of inflammasomes consists of at least 2 components: a signal sensor and an effector inflammatory caspase (mostly CASP1). However, most inflammasomes contain a third element, an adaptor (often ASC/PYCARD). The interaction between the sensor component and the adaptor initiates speck formation (nucleation) which greatly enhances further addition of soluble adaptor molecules to the speck in a prion-like polymerization process. The kinetic properties of the adaptor aggregation have been shown to generate a rapid 'all-or-none' response, this is why only one speck by cell is observed.


ASC focus
ASC speck


› Cellular component




inflammasome complex [ GO:0061702 ]
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