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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Volume 115, Issue 15, April 2018, Pages 3930-3935.

The published version is available at Copyright © National Academy of Sciences


Necroptosis, a form of regulated necrotic cell death, is governed by RIP1/RIP3-mediated activation of MLKL. However, the signaling process leading to necroptotic death remains to be elucidated. In this study, we found that PUMA, a proapoptotic BH3-only Bcl-2 family member, is transcriptionally activated in an RIP3/MLKL-dependent manner following induction of necroptosis. The induction of PUMA, which is mediated by autocrine TNF-α and enhanced NF-κB activity, contributes to necroptotic death in RIP3-expressing cells with caspases inhibited. On induction, PUMA promotes the cytosolic release of mitochondrial DNA and activation of the DNA sensors DAI/Zbp1 and STING, leading to enhanced RIP3 and MLKL phosphorylation in a positive feedback loop. Furthermore, deletion of PUMA partially rescues necroptosis-mediated developmental defects in FADD-deficient embryos. Collectively, our results reveal a signal amplification mechanism mediated by PUMA and cytosolic DNA sensors that is involved in TNF-driven necroptotic death in vitro and in vivo.

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