NF-κB protects cells from gamma interferon-induced RIP1-dependent necroptosis

Roshan J. Thapa, Suresh H. Basagoudanavar, Shoko Nogusa, Krishna Irrinki, Karthik Mallilankaraman, Michael J. Slifker, Amer A. Beg, Muniswamy Madesh, Siddharth Balachandran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations


Interferons (IFNs) are cytokines with well-described immunomodulatory and antiviral properties, but less is known about the mechanisms by which they promote cell survival or cell death. Here, we show that IFN-γ induces RIP1 kinase-dependent necroptosis in mammalian cells deficient in NF-κB signaling. Induction of necroptosis by IFN-γ was found to depend on Jak1 and partially on STAT1. We also demonstrate that IFN-γ activates IκB kinase β (IKKβ)-dependent NF-κB to regulate a transcriptional program that protects cells from necroptosis. IFN-γ induced progressive accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and eventual loss of mitochondrial membrane potential in cells lacking the NF-κB subunit RelA. Whole-genome microarray analyses identified sod2, encoding the antioxidant enzyme manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD), as a RelA target and potential antinecroptotic gene. Overexpression of MnSOD inhibited IFN-γ-mediated ROS accumulation and partially rescued RelA-deficient cells from necroptosis, while RNA interference (RNAi)-mediated silencing of sod2 expression increased susceptibility to IFN-γ-induced cell death. Together, these studies demonstrate that NF-κB protects cells from IFN-γ-mediated necroptosis by transcriptionally activating a survival response that quenches ROS to preserve mitochondrial integrity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2934-2946
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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