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Human NLRP1 (NACHT, LRR, and PYD domain-containing protein 1) is an innate immune sensor predominantly expressed in the skin and airway epithelium. Here, we report that human NLRP1 senses the ultraviolet B (UVB)- and toxin-induced ribotoxic stress response (RSR). Biochemically, RSR leads to the direct hyperphosphorylation of a human-specific disordered linker region of NLRP1 (NLRP1DR) by MAP3K20/ZAKα kinase and its downstream effector, p38. Mutating a single ZAKα phosphorylation site in NLRP1DR abrogates UVB- and ribotoxin-driven pyroptosis in human keratinocytes. Moreover, fusing NLRP1DR to CARD8, which is insensitive to RSR by itself, creates a minimal inflammasome sensor for UVB and ribotoxins. These results provide insight into UVB sensing by human skin keratinocytes, identify several ribotoxins as NLRP1 agonists, and establish inflammasome-driven pyroptosis as an integral component of the RSR.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





328 - 335


Anisomycin, CARD Signaling Adaptor Proteins, Humans, Inflammasomes, Keratinocytes, MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases, Mutation, NLR Proteins, Neoplasm Proteins, Phosphorylation, Pyroptosis, Ribosomes, Stress, Physiological, Ultraviolet Rays