Pyrin and ASC Co-localize to cellular sites that are rich in polymerizing actin

Andrea L. Waite, Philip Schaner, Chunbo Hu, Neil Richards, Banu Balci-Peynircioglu, Arthur Hong, Michelle Fox, Deborah L. Gumucio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Familial Mediterranean fever (FMF) is an autoinflammatory disease caused by mutations in the MEFV locus, which encodes the protein pyrin. While it is known that pyrin is expressed in myeloid cells and several fibroblastic cell types, the exact function of pyrin in these cells and the mechanism underlying the pathological effect of pyrin mutations have yet to be revealed. Here, we document that in migrating human monocytes, pyrin protein is dramatically polarized at the leading edge, where it co-localizes with polymerizing actin. ASC (Apoptosis-associated Speck protein with CARD domain), a known pyrininteracting protein and a critical component of the inflammasome, is also located at the leading edge in migrating monocytes. Similarly, both pyrin and ASC concentrate in dynamically polymerizing actin-rich tails generated by Listeria monocytogenes. Pyrin's B-box and coiled-coil region is required for its association with Listeria tails. Pyrin also binds, with low affinity and via the same domains, to actin, VASP, and Arp3. Though disease-causing mutations in pyrin do not appear to alter its localization to the leading edge or to Listeria rocket tails, they could potentially have important functional consequences in the context of processes such as migration and cell synapse formation. The co-localization of pyrin and ASC together at such sites may provide an important link between cytoskeletal signaling and inflammasome function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009


  • ASC
  • Actin
  • Familial mediterranean fever
  • Pyrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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