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Muramyl dipeptide is a peptidoglycan constituent of both Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. It is composed of N-acetylmuramic acid linked by its lactic acid moiety to the N-terminus of an L-alanine D-isoglutamine dipeptide.
It can be recognized by the immune system as a PAMP (pathogen associated molecular pattern)and activate the NALP3 inflammasome which in turn leads to cytokine activation, especially IL-1α and IL-1β. 
- Inohara, N.; Ogura, Y.; Fontalba, A.; Gutierrez, O.; Pons, F.; Crespo, J.; Fukase, K.; Inamura, S.; Kusumoto, S.; Hashimoto, M.; Foster, S. J.; Moran, A. P.; Fernandez-Luna, J. L.; Nuñez, G. (2003). "Host Recognition of Bacterial Muramyl Dipeptide Mediated through NOD2. Implications for Crohn's Disease". Journal of Biological Chemistry 278 (8): 5509–5512. doi:10.1074/jbc.C200673200. PMID 12514169.
- Curr Biol. 2004 Nov 9;14(21):1929-34., Martinon F, Agostini L, Meylan E, Tschopp J. Identification of bacterial muramyl dipeptide as activator of the NALP3/cryopyrin inflammasome..
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