PARP16, a mono-ADP-ribose transferase, has emerged as a potential therapeutic target. Human PARP16 (also known as ARTD15) is a tail-anchored ER transmembrane protein required for activation of the functionally related ER stress sensors PERK and IRE1α during the UPR. The third identified ER stress sensor, ATF6, is not regulated by PARP16. As is the case for other PARPs that function during stress, the enzymatic activity of PARP16 is upregulated during ER stress when it ADP-ribosylates itself, PERK and IRE1α. ADP-ribosylation by PARP16 is sufficient for activating PERK and IRE1α in the absence of ER stress and is required for PERK and IRE1α activation during the UPR. Modification of PERK and IRE1α by PARP16 increases their kinase activities and the endonuclease activity of IRE1α. The carboxy-terminal luminal tail of PARP16 is required for PARP16 function during ER stress, suggesting that it transduces stress signals to the cytoplasmic PARP catalytic domain.