RIPK3 Activation Leads to Cytokine Synthesis that Continues after Loss of Cell Membrane Integrity

Cell Rep. 2019 Aug 27;28(9):2275-2287.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.07.077.


Necroptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is defined by activation of the kinase RIPK3 and subsequent cell membrane permeabilization by the effector MLKL. RIPK3 activation can also promote immune responses via production of cytokines and chemokines. How active cytokine production is coordinated with the terminal process of necroptosis is unclear. Here, we report that cytokine production continues within necroptotic cells even after they have lost cell membrane integrity and irreversibly committed to death. This continued cytokine production is dependent on mRNA translation and requires maintenance of endoplasmic reticulum integrity that remains after plasma membrane integrity is lost. The continued translation of cytokines by cellular corpses contributes to necroptotic cell uptake by innate immune cells and priming of adaptive immune responses to antigens associated with necroptotic corpses. These findings imply that cell death and production of inflammatory mediators are coordinated to optimize the immunogenicity of necroptotic cells.

Keywords: MLKL; RIPK3; cell death; cytokines; necroptosis; phagocytosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Animals
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Necroptosis*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Ripk3 protein, mouse