The NLRP3 inflammasome responds to microbes and danger signals by processing and activating proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin 1 (IL-1) and IL-18. We found here that activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome was restricted to interphase of the cell cycle by NEK7, a serine-threonine kinase previously linked to mitosis. Activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome required NEK7, which bound to the leucine-rich repeat domain of NLRP3 in a kinase-independent manner downstream of the induction of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS). This interaction was necessary for the formation of a complex containing NLRP3 and the adaptor ASC, oligomerization of ASC and activation of caspase-1. NEK7 promoted the NLRP3-dependent cellular inflammatory response to intraperitoneal challenge with monosodium urate and the development of experimental autoimmune encephalitis in mice. Our findings suggest that NEK7 serves as a cellular switch that enforces mutual exclusivity of the inflammasome response and cell division.