February 7, 2024

Structural basis for the oligomerization-facilitated NLRP3 activation

NIS Mountain Hero

Using cryo-EM structures, researchers propose an activation mechanism for NLRP3.

The NACHT-, leucine-rich-repeat-, and pyrin domain-containing protein 3 (NLRP3) is a critical intracellular inflammasome sensor and an important clinical target against inflammation-driven human diseases. Recent studies have elucidated its transition from a closed cage to an activated disk-like inflammasome, but the intermediate activation mechanism remains elusive. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy structure of NLRP3, which forms an open octamer and undergoes a ~ 90° hinge rotation at the NACHT domain. Mutations on open octamer’s interfaces reduce IL-1β signaling, highlighting its essential role in NLRP3 activation/inflammasome assembly. The centrosomal NIMA-related kinase 7 (NEK7) disrupts large NLRP3 oligomers and forms NEK7/NLRP3 monomers/dimers which is a critical step preceding the assembly of the disk-like inflammasome. These data demonstrate an oligomeric cooperative activation of NLRP3 and provide insight into its inflammasome assembly mechanism.


Yu, X., Matico, R.E., Miller, R. et al. Structural basis for the oligomerization-facilitated NLRP3 activation. Nat Commun 15, 1164 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-024-45396-8

Yu, X., Matico, R.E., Miller, R. et al.
NIS Mountain Hero