Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Biology (Cell Biology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology)

Major Professor

Wenlong Bai, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Santo Nicosia, M.D.

Committee Member

Subhra Mohapatra, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Alvaro Monteiro, Ph.D.


Vitamin D, Growth Suppression, Apoptosis, Necroptosis


Receptor interacting protein kinase 1 (RIPK1) is an enzyme acting downstream of tumor necrosis factor alpha to control cell survival and death. RIPK1 expression has been reported to cause drug resistance in cancer cells; but so far, no published studies have investigated the role of RIPK1 in vitamin D action. In the present study, we investigated whether RIPK1 played any role in 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25D3)-induced growth suppression. In our studies, RIPK1 decreased the transcriptional activity of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in luciferase reporter assays independently of its kinase activity, suggesting a negative role of RIPK1 in 1,25D3 action. RIPK1 also formed a complex with VDR and deletion analyses mapped the RIPK1 binding region to the C-terminal ligand-binding domain of VDR. Subcellular fractionation analyses indicated that RIPK1 increased VDR retention in the cytoplasm, which may account for the inhibition of VDR transcriptional activity. Consistent with the reporter analyses, 1,25D3-induced growth suppression was more pronounced in RIPK1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and RIPK1 knockdown ovarian cancer cells than control cells. We have also shown that VDR was involved in RIPK1-mediated cell death pathway in a cell line specific manner. In vivo study showed that VDR deletion delayed the necroptotic response to tumor necrosis factor alpha in mice. Western blot analyses of platinum sensitive and resistant cell lines showed a correlation between RIPK1 expression and drug resistance, suggesting a possible role of RIPK1 in drug resistance. In conclusion, this study is the first to define RIPK1 as a VDR repressor, projecting RIPK1 depletion as a potential strategy to increase the potency of 1,25D3 and its analogs for cancer intervention.

Included in

Cell Biology Commons