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J. Virol. 74 (16): 7470-7477

Copyright © 2000 by the American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.

Journal of Virology, August 2000, p. 7470-7477, Vol. 74, No. 16
Copyright © 2000, American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.

Induction of Necrotic-Like Cell Death by Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha and Caspase Inhibitors: Novel Mechanism for Killing Virus-Infected Cells

Ming Li and Amer A. Beg*

Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027

Received 6 April 2000/Accepted 12 May 2000

Induction of apoptotic cell death generally requires the participation of cysteine proteases belonging to the caspase family. However, and similar to most cell types, mouse fibroblasts are normally resistant to tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha )-induced apoptosis. Surprisingly, TNF-alpha treatment of vaccinia virus-infected mouse fibroblasts resulted in necrotic-like cell death, which was significantly reduced in cells infected with a vaccinia virus mutant lacking the caspase inhibitor B13R. Furthermore, TNF-alpha also induced necrotic-like cell death of fibroblasts in the presence of peptidyl caspase inhibitors. In both cases, necrosis was accompanied by generation of superoxide species. Caspase inhibitors also sensitized fibroblasts to killing by double-stranded RNA and gamma interferon. In all cases, cell death was efficiently blocked by antioxidants or mitochondrial respiratory chain inhibitors. These results define a new mitochondrion-dependent mechanism which may be important in the killing of cells infected with viruses encoding caspase inhibitors.

* Corresponding author. Mailing address: 1110 Fairchild Center, Department of Biological Sciences, 1212 Amsterdam Ave., Columbia University, New York, NY 10027. Phone: (212) 854-5939. Fax: (212) 854-5945. E-mail: aab41{at}

Journal of Virology, August 2000, p. 7470-7477, Vol. 74, No. 16
Copyright © 2000, American Society for Microbiology. All rights reserved.

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