Receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 is a key mediator in TLR3 ligand and Smac mimetic-induced cell death and suppresses TLR3 ligand-promoted invasion in cholangiocarcinoma

Thanpisit Lomphithak, Swati Choksi, Apiwat Mutirangura, Rutaiwan Tohtong, Tewin Tencomnao, Hajime Usubuchi, Michiaki Unno, Hironobu Sasano, Siriporn Jitkaew

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Background: Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) ligand which activates TLR3 signaling induces both cancer cell death and activates anti-tumor immunity. However, TLR3 signaling can also harbor pro-tumorigenic consequences. Therefore, we examined the status of TLR3 in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) cases to better understand TLR3 signaling and explore the potential therapeutic target in CCA. Methods: The expression of TLR3 and receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) in primary CCA tissues was assayed by Immunohistochemical staining and their associations with clinicopathological characteristics and survival data were evaluated. The effects of TLR3 ligand, Poly(I:C) and Smac mimetic, an IAP antagonist on CCA cell death and invasion were determined by cell death detection methods and Transwell invasion assay, respectively. Both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of RIPK1, RIPK3 and MLKL and inhibitors targeting NF-κB and MAPK signaling were used to investigate the underlying mechanisms. Results: TLR3 was significantly higher expressed in tumor than adjacent normal tissues. We demonstrated in a panel of CCA cell lines that TLR3 was frequently expressed in CCA cell lines, but was not detected in a nontumor cholangiocyte. Subsequent in vitro study demonstrated that Poly(I:C) specifically induced CCA cell death, but only when cIAPs were removed by Smac mimetic. Cell death was also switched from apoptosis to necroptosis when caspases were inhibited in CCA cells-expressing RIPK3. In addition, RIPK1 was required for Poly(I:C) and Smac mimetic-induced apoptosis and necroptosis. Of particular interest, high TLR3 or low RIPK1 status in CCA patients was associated with more invasiveness. In vitro invasion demonstrated that Poly(I:C)-induced invasion through NF-κB and MAPK signaling. Furthermore, the loss of RIPK1 enhanced Poly(I:C)-induced invasion and ERK activation in vitro. Smac mimetic also reversed Poly(I:C)-induced invasion, partly mediated by RIPK1. Finally, a subgroup of patients with high TLR3 and high RIPK1 had a trend toward longer disease-free survival (p = 0.078, 28.0 months and 10.9 months). Conclusion: RIPK1 plays a pivotal role in TLR3 ligand, Poly(I:C)-induced cell death when cIAPs activity was inhibited and loss of RIPK1 enhanced Poly(I:C)-induced invasion which was partially reversed by Smac mimetic. Our results suggested that TLR3 ligand in combination with Smac mimetic could provide therapeutic benefits to the patients with CCA. [MediaObject not available: see fulltext.] Graphical abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number161
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Oct 9


  • Cholangiocarcinoma
  • Invasion
  • Necroptosis
  • Receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1)
  • Smac mimetic
  • Toll-like receptor 3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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