The proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) alpha signals both cell survival and death. The biological outcome of TNFalpha treatment is determined by the balance between NF-kappaB and Jun kinase (JNK) signaling; NF-kappaB promotes survival, whereas JNK enhances cell death. Critically, identity of a JNK substrate that promotes TNFalpha-induced apoptosis has been outstanding. Here we show that TNFalpha-mediated JNK activation accelerates turnover of the NF-kappaB-induced antiapoptotic protein c-FLIP, an inhibitor of caspase-8. This is not due to direct c-FLIP phosphorylation but depends on JNK-mediated phosphorylation and activation of the E3 ubiquitin ligase Itch, which specifically ubiquitinates c-FLIP and induces its proteasomal degradation. JNK1 or Itch deficiency or treatment with a JNK inhibitor renders mice resistant in three distinct models of TNFalpha-induced acute liver failure, and cells from these mice do not display inducible c-FLIP(L) ubiquitination and degradation. Thus, JNK antagonizes NF-kappaB during TNFalpha signaling by promoting the proteasomal elimination of c-FLIP(L).