Research ArticleCELL DEATH

OAS1/RNase L executes RIG-I ligand–dependent tumor cell apoptosis

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Science Immunology  16 Jul 2021:
Vol. 6, Issue 61, eabe2550
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.abe2550

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Executing tumor cell death

There is increasing interest in developing cancer immunotherapies that target the innate immune pathways regulating cytokine production and cell death, but the interplay between these two closely connected processes is not well understood. In mouse and human cancer cell lines, Boehmer et al. demonstrate that cytokine production and apoptosis induced by retinoic acid–inducible gene I (RIG-I) ligands, including 5′-triphosphate RNA (3p-RNA), are two separable events in which RIG-I is required for production of type I interferon but not execution of apoptosis. Mass spectrometry and loss-of-function assays showed that 3p-RNA directly activates OAS1 and RNase L, which promoted translational arrest and depletion of antiapoptotic MCL-1. These results demonstrate that RIG-I–mediated apoptosis involves priming and effector stages, reminiscent of inflammasome activation, both of which could serve as potential targets for cancer immunotherapy.

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