Inflammasomes of the intestinal epithelium.
Sellin ME., Maslowski KM., Maloy KJ., Hardt WD.
While the functional importance of inflammasomes in blood-derived cell types is well established, it remains poorly understood how inflammasomes in nonhematopoietic cells contribute to mucosal immunity. Recent studies have revealed functional roles of inflammasomes - particularly NAIP/NLRC4, NLRP6, and noncanonical caspase-4 (caspase-11) - within epithelial cells of the gut in mucosal immune defense, inflammation, and tumorigenesis. Here, we review and discuss these findings in the broader context of tissue compartment-specific mucosal immunity. We propose several models whereby activities of the intestinal epithelial inflammasomes converge on mechanisms to remove compromised epithelial cells, maintain host-microbiota mutualism, and communicate with immune cells of the underlying lamina propria.