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Nat Cell Biol. 2017 Oct;19(10):1248-1259. doi: 10.1038/ncb3614. Epub 2017 Sep 18.

p38MAPK/MK2-dependent phosphorylation controls cytotoxic RIPK1 signalling in inflammation and infection.

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Institute of Cell Biochemistry, Hannover Medical School, Hannover 30625, Germany.
Institute for Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene, University Medical Center Eppendorf, Hamburg 20246, Germany.


Receptor-interacting protein kinase-1 (RIPK1), a master regulator of cell fate decisions, was identified as a direct substrate of MAPKAP kinase-2 (MK2) by phosphoproteomic screens using LPS-treated macrophages and stress-stimulated embryonic fibroblasts. p38MAPK/MK2 interact with RIPK1 in a cytoplasmic complex and MK2 phosphorylates mouse RIPK1 at Ser321/336 in response to pro-inflammatory stimuli, such as TNF and LPS, and infection with the pathogen Yersinia enterocolitica. MK2 phosphorylation inhibits RIPK1 autophosphorylation, curtails RIPK1 integration into cytoplasmic cytotoxic complexes, and suppresses RIPK1-dependent apoptosis and necroptosis. In Yersinia-infected macrophages, RIPK1 phosphorylation by MK2 protects against infection-induced apoptosis, a process targeted by Yersinia outer protein P (YopP). YopP suppresses p38MAPK/MK2 activation to increase Yersinia-driven apoptosis. Hence, MK2 phosphorylation of RIPK1 is a crucial checkpoint for cell fate in inflammation and infection that determines the outcome of bacteria-host cell interaction.

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