Sutterwala and Cassel Laboratory

The Sutterwala and Cassel Laboratory is a joint lab led by Fayyaz Sutterwala, MD, PhD, director of the Infectious Diseases Division, and Suzanne Cassel, MD, assistant professor in Pulmonary and Critical Care. The focus of studies in the Sutterwala and Cassel Lab is a family of cytosolic molecules called nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing receptors (NLRs) that are involved in the regulation of innate immune responses and cell death pathways. Some NLR family members promote the activation of pro-inflammatory caspases within multiprotein complexes called inflammasomes. Mutations within NLRP3, a member of the NLR family, have been linked to a group of autoinflammatory disorders in humans collectively known as the cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes. NLRC4, another NLR family member, has been shown to play a crucial role in response to infection with a number of gram-negative bacteria. To understand the role of NLRs in coordinating the immune response, we have used a gene-targeting approach utilizing mice deficient in specific inflammasome components. The Sutterwala and Cassel Lab is interested in defining the molecular mechanisms by which inflammasomes are activated and their role in host defense against a variety of pathogens. We are also interested in how inflammasomes can exacerbate inflammatory responses to sterile inflammatory insults such as ischemia as well as inhaled environmental pollutants.

The Sutterwala and Cassel Laboratories are affiliated with the Cedars-Sinai Lung Institute and the Infectious and Immunologic Diseases Research Center.

Schematic of NLRP1, NLRP3, NLRC4 and AIM2 inflammasomes.