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Volume 11, Pages 2418-2423
Review Article

Cell Intrinsic Roles of Apoptosis-Associated Speck-Like Protein in Regulating Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses

Department of Microbial Infection and Immunity, Center for Microbial Interface Biology, and Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210, USA

Received 10 November 2011; Accepted 14 November 2011

Academic Editor: Marco Antonio Cassatella

Copyright © 2011 Hoda Hassan and Amal O. Amer. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The role of apoptosis-associated speck-Like protein (ASC) in the assembly of the inflammasome complex within macrophages has been elucidated in several studies. In this particular role, ASC functions as an adaptor protein by linking nod-like receptors (NLRs) and procaspase-1, thereby leading to the activation of caspase-1 to cleave inflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-18 and inducing pyroptosis. It has been noted that ASC maintains inflammasome-independent roles, including but not limited to controlling the expression of Dock2 and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK/ERK2) and regulating the NF-κB pathway. This paper will emphasize the major roles of ASC during pathogen infection, the mechanisms by which it mediates inflammation, and discuss its more recently discovered functions.