Upon sensing pathogenic bacterial infection, host cells activate a multitude of inflammatory and immunogenic responses to promote bacterial clearance and restore tissue homeostasis. RIPK1 and RIPK3 are two key players in antimicrobial defence, by either driving inflammatory signalling or inducing programmed cell death activation, ranging from apoptosis, pyroptosis to necroptosis. In this review, we first discuss the mechanisms by which RIPK1 and RIPK3 promote the assembly of death-inducing complexes and how these cell death pathways are activated as host responses to counteract pathogenic bacteria. We further outline the immunological importance of cell death in antibacterial defence and highlight outstanding questions in the field.

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