Suppression of RIP3-dependent Necroptosis by Human Cytomegalovirus [Cell Biology]

March 16th, 2015 by Omoto, S., Guo, H., Talekar, G. R., Roback, L., Kaiser, W. J., Mocarski, E.

Necroptosis is an alternate programmed cell death pathway that is unleashed by caspase 8 compromise and mediated by receptor interacting protein kinase (RIP)3 . Murine cytomegalovirus (CMV) and herpes simplex virus (HSV) encode caspase 8 inhibitors that prevent apoptosis together with competitors of RIP homotypic interaction motif (RHIM)-dependent signal transduction to interrupt the necroptosis. Here, we show that pro-necrotic murine CMV M45 mutant virus drives virus-induced necroptosis during nonproductive infection of RIP3-expressing human fibroblasts; whereas WT virus does not. Thus, M45-encoded RHIM competitor, vIRA, sustains viability human cells as it is known to function in infected mouse cells. Importantly, human CMV is shown to block necroptosis induced by either TNF or M45 mutant murine CMV in RIP3-expressing human cells. Human CMV blocks TNF-induced necroptosis after RIP3 activation and phosphorylation of the pseudokinase MLKL. An early, IE1-regulated viral gene product acts on a necroptosis step that follows MLKL phosphorylation prior to membrane leakage. This suppression strategy is distinct from RHIM signaling competition by murine CMV or HSV, and interrupts an execution process that has not yet been fully elaborated.