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Immunity. 1999 Dec;11(6):783-93.

Regulated commitment of TNF receptor signaling: a molecular switch for death or activation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) superfamily members can induce a context-dependent apoptosis or cell activation. However, the mechanisms by which these opposing programs are selected remain unclear. We show that in T cells, TNFR2 (TNFRSF1B) signaling is dramatically affected by the intracellular mediator RIP, a protein Ser/Thr kinase required for NF-kappaB activation by TNFR1 (TNFRSF1A). In the presence of RIP, TNFR2 triggers cell death, whereas in the absence of RIP, TNFR2 activates NF-kappaB. RIP is induced during IL2-driven T cell proliferation, and its inhibition reduces susceptibility to TNF-dependent apoptosis. Evidence that signaling outputs are shaped by intracellular constraints helps reconcile conflicting views of TNFR1 and TNFR2 as apoptotic mediators.

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