Although Western diet and dysbiosis are the most prominent environmental factors associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs), the corresponding host factors and cellular mechanisms remain poorly defined. Here we report that the TSC1/mTOR pathway in the gut epithelium represents a metabolic and innate immune checkpoint for intestinal dysfunction and inflammation. mTOR hyperactivation triggered by Western diet or Tsc1 ablation led to epithelium necroptosis, barrier disruption, and predisposition to dextran sulfate sodium–induced colitis and inflammation-associated colon cancer. Mechanistically, our results uncovered a critical role for TSC1/mTOR in restraining the expression and activation of RIPK3 in the gut epithelium through TRIM11-mediated ubiquitination and autophagy-dependent degradation. Notably, microbiota depletion by antibiotics or gnotobiotics attenuated RIPK3 expression and activation, thereby alleviating epithelial necroptosis and colitis driven by mTOR hyperactivation. mTOR primarily impinged on RIPK3 to potentiate necroptosis induced by TNF and by microbial pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), and hyperactive mTOR and aberrant necroptosis were intertwined in human IBDs. Together, our data reveal a previously unsuspected link between the Western diet, microbiota, and necroptosis and identify the mTOR/RIPK3/necroptosis axis as a driving force for intestinal inflammation and cancer.


Yadong Xie, Yifan Zhao, Lei Shi, Wei Li, Kun Chen, Min Li, Xia Chen, Haiwei Zhang, Tiantian Li, Yu Matsuzawa-Ishimoto, Xiaomin Yao, Dianhui Shao, Zunfu Ke, Jian Li, Yan Chen, Xiaoming Zhang, Jun Cui, Shuzhong Cui, Qibin Leng, Ken Cadwell, Xiaoxia Li, Hong Wei, Haibing Zhang, Huabin Li, Hui Xiao


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