Dr. Qian Yin

Polymerization in Inflammasome Assembly and Activation


Inflammasomes are cytosolic multi-protein complexes that process and release mature cytokines in response to a variety of microbial or cellular stimuli. Using in vitro reconstitution and cryo EM, we found out that inflammasomes assembly often relies on the mechanism of nucleated polymerization. Oligomers of upstream molecules function as “seeds” to recruit and polymerize downstream molecules to propagate and amplify signals. Specifically, death domains that mediate intermolecular interaction form helical filamentous structures. The same polymerization interfaces are often targets of inflammasomes inhibitors as well.