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Immunity. 2013 Jan 24;38(1):27-40. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.09.015. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Caspase-8 blocks kinase RIPK3-mediated activation of the NLRP3 inflammasome.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, The Weizmann Institute of Science, 76100 Rehovot, Israel.


Caspase-8 deficiency in certain cells prompts chronic inflammation. One mechanism suggested to account for this inflammation is enhanced signaling for necrotic cell death, mediated by the protein kinases RIPK1 and RIPK3 that caspase-8 can cleave. We describe an activity of caspase-8 in dendritic cells that controls the initiation of inflammation in another way. Caspase-8 deficiency in these cells facilitated lipopolysaccharide-induced assembly and function of the NLRP3 inflammasome. This effect depended on the functions of RIPK1 and RIPK3, as well as of MLKL and PGAM5, two signaling proteins recently shown to contribute to RIPK3-mediated induction of necrosis. However, although enhancement of inflammasome assembly in the caspase-8-deficient cells shares proximal signaling events with the induction of necrosis, it occurred independently of cell death. These findings provide new insight into potentially pathological inflammatory processes to which RIPK1- and RIPK3-mediated signaling contributes.

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