Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) can induce necroptosis, wherein inhibition of caspase activity prevents apoptosis but initiates an alternative programmed necrosis. The activity of receptor-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase 1 (RIPK-1) is required for necroptosis to proceed, with suppression of RIPK-1 expression or inhibition of RIPK-1 activity with necrostatin-1 preventing TNF-induced necroptosis. Downstream from the TNF receptor, the generation of reactive oxygen species at the mitochondria has been identified as necessary for the execution of necroptosis; with antioxidants and inhibitors of mitochondrial complex I preventing TNF-induced cytotoxicity. However, components of the signaling pathway that lie between activated RIPK-1 and the mitochondria are unknown. In the study reported here we demonstrate that during TNF-induced necroptosis, STAT3 is phosphorylated on serine 727, which is dependent on RIPK-1 expression or activity. The phosphorylation of STAT3 induces interaction with GRIM-19, a subunit of mitochondrial complex I, with a resultant translocation of STAT3 to the mitochondria, where it induces an increase in reactive oxygen species production and cell death.
This work was supported in part by the National Cancer Institute [grant number 5R01AA012897-11]; and the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [grant number 5R01CA118356-07].
Supplementary material available online at http://jcs.biologists.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1242/jcs.103093/-/DC1
- Accepted February 8, 2012.
- © 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd