NOD-like receptors (NLRs) are pattern recognition receptors for diverse innate immune responses. Self-oligomerization after engagement with a ligand is a generally accepted model for the activation of each NLR. We report here that a catalyzer was required for NLR self-oligomerization. PELO, a well-known surveillance factor in translational quality control and/or ribosome rescue, interacted with all cytosolic NLRs and activated their ATPase activity. In the case of flagellin-initiated NLRC4 inflammasome activation, flagellin-bound NAIP5 recruited the first NLRC4 and then PELO was required for correctly assembling the rest of NLRC4s into the NLRC4 complex, one by one, by activating the NLRC4 ATPase activity. Stoichiometric and functional data revealed that PELO was not a structural constituent of the NLRC4 inflammasome but a powerful catalyzer for its assembly. The catalytic role of PELO in the activation of cytosolic NLRs provides insight into NLR activation and provides a direction for future studies of NLR family members.