Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology



First Thesis Advisor

Francis Ka-Ming Chan, PhD


Necrosis, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha, Tumor Suppressor Proteins, Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases


Dissertations, UMMS; Necrosis; Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha; Tumor Suppressor Proteins; Receptor-Interacting Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases


TNFα-induced programmed necrosis is a caspase-independent cell death program that is contingent upon the formation of a multiprotein complex termed the necrosome. The association of two of the components of the necrosome, receptor interacting protein 1 (RIP1) and RIP3, is a critical and signature molecular event during necrosis. Within this complex, both RIP1 and RIP3 are phosphorylated which are consequential for transmission of the pro-necrotic signal. Namely, it has been demonstrated that RIP3 phosphorylation is required for binding to downstream substrates. Nevertheless, the regulatory mechanisms governing necrosome activation remain unclear. Since necrosis is implicated in a variety of different diseases, understanding the biochemical signaling pathway can potentially yield future drug targets. I was interested in identifying other regulators of necrosis in hope of gaining a better understanding of the necrosis signaling pathway and regulators of the necrosome. To address this, I screened a cancer gene siRNA library in a cell line sensitive to necrosis. From this, I independently identified CYLD as a positive regulator of necrosis. Previous studies suggest that deubiquitination of RIP1 in the TNF receptor (TNFR)-1 signaling complex is a prerequisite for transition of RIP1 into the cytosol and assembly of the RIP1-RIP3 necrosome. The deubiquitinase cylindromatosis (CYLD) is presumed to promote programmed necrosis by facilitating RIP1 deubiquitination in this membrane receptor complex. Surprisingly, I found that TNFα could induce RIP1-dependent necrosis in CYLD-/- cells. I show that CYLD does not regulate RIP1 ubiquitination at the receptor complex. Strikingly, assembly of the RIP1-RIP3 necrosome was delayed, but not abolished in the absence of CYLD. In addition to the TNFR-1 complex, I found that RIP1 within the necrosome was also ubiquitinated. In the absence of CYLD, RIP1 ubiquitination in the NP-40 insoluble necrosome was greatly increased. Increased RIP1 ubiquitination correlated with impaired RIP1 and RIP3 phosphorylation, a signature of kinase activation. My results show that CYLD regulates RIP1 ubiquitination in the NP-40 insoluble necrosome, but not in the TNFR-1 signaling complex. Contrary to the current model, CYLD is not essential for necrosome assembly. Rather, it facilitates RIP1 and RIP3 activation within the necrosome and the corollary is enhancement of necrosome functionality and subsequent necrosis. My results therefore indicate that CYLD exerts its pro-necrotic function in the NP-40 insoluble necrosome, and illuminates the mechanism of necrosome activation.



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