Necroptosis is a form of programmed cell death that is both mechanistically and morphologically distinct from apoptosis, the canonical mechanism of cell suicide. Although early descriptions of necroptosis date back decades, the last 5 years have seen a proliferation of studies of this process. This surge in interest has included the recent publication of several excellent, in-depth reviews of the literature [Chan FK-M et al. (2014) Annu Rev Immunol 33, 141210135520002; Weinlich R & Green DR (2014) Mol Cell 56, 469–480; Silke J et al. (2015) Nat Immunol 16, 689–697; Linkermann A & Green DR (2014) N Engl J Med 370, 455–465]. Rather than contribute another summary to this well-summarized field, in this Minireview I will briefly discuss key recent findings, then touch on some of the major outstanding questions – the known unknowns – that remain.
Necroptosis is a form of programmed cell death distinct from apoptosis. Recent years have seen an explosion of interest in this pathway, and our understanding of the mechanisms of necroptosis has increased dramatically. This Minireview considers recent progress and future directions in this fast-moving field.