The AIM2-ASC inflammasome is a filamentous signaling platform essential for mounting host defense against cytoplasmic double-stranded (ds)DNA, which signals various maladies such as pathogen invasion and genomic instability. We show here that longer dsDNA is more effective in inducing AIM2 assembly, its self-propagation, and downstream ASC polymerization. This observation is related to the increased probability of forming the base of AIM2 filaments and indicates that the assembly discerns small dsDNA as noise at each signaling step. Filaments assembled by receptor AIM2, downstream ASC, and their joint complex all persist regardless of dsDNA, consequently generating sustained signal amplification and hysteresis. Furthermore, multiple positive feedback loops reinforce the assembly, as AIM2 and ASC filaments accelerate the assembly of nascent AIM2 with or without dsDNA. Together with a quantitative model of the assembly, our results indicate that an ultrasensitive digital circuit drives the assembly of the AIM2-ASC inflammasome.
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