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EMBO J. 1999 Dec 1;18(23):6694-704.

NF-kappaB activation by a signaling complex containing TRAF2, TANK and TBK1, a novel IKK-related kinase.

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  • 1Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


The activation of NF-kappaB by receptors in the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor and Toll/interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor families requires the TRAF family of adaptor proteins. Receptor oligomerization causes the recruitment of TRAFs to the receptor complex, followed by the activation of a kinase cascade that results in the phosphorylation of IkappaB. TANK is a TRAF-binding protein that can inhibit the binding of TRAFs to receptor tails and can also inhibit NF-kappaB activation by these receptors. However, TANK also displays the ability to stimulate TRAF-mediated NF-kappaB activation. In this report, we investigate the mechanism of the stimulatory activity of TANK. We find that TANK interacts with TBK1 (TANK-binding kinase 1), a novel IKK-related kinase that can activate NF-kappaB in a kinase-dependent manner. TBK1, TANK and TRAF2 can form a ternary complex, and complex formation appears to be required for TBK1 activity. Kinase-inactive TBK1 inhibits TANK-mediated NF-kappaB activation but does not block the activation mediated by TNF-alpha, IL-1 or CD40. The TBK1-TANK-TRAF2 signaling complex functions upstream of NIK and the IKK complex and represents an alternative to the receptor signaling complex for TRAF-mediated activation of NF-kappaB.

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