Damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) are molecules within living cells that are released when cell membranes are ruptured. Although DAMPs have physiological functions inside the cell, once DAMPs are released extracellularly, they elicit various biological responses, including inflammation, proliferation, tissue damage, and tissue repair, in a context-dependent manner. In past decades, it was assumed that the release of DAMPs was induced by a membrane rupture, caused by passive ATP depletion, or by chemical or mechanical damage to the membrane. However, that concept has been challenged by recent advancements in understanding the regulation of cell death. Necroptosis is a form of regulated cell death, where cells show necrotic morphology. Necroptosis is triggered by death receptors, toll-like receptors, and some viral infections. The membrane rupture is executed by the mixed lineage-like kinase domain-like pseudokinase (MLKL), which forms oligomers that translocate to the plasma membrane during necroptosis. Although the causal relationship between MLKL function and membrane rupture has been extensively investigated, the detailed molecular mechanisms by which oligomerized MLKL induces membrane rupture are not fully understood. This review summarizes recent advances in understanding how MLKL regulates DAMP release and new technologies for visualizing DAMP release at single-cell resolution.

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