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EMBO Rep. 2001 Oct;2(10):945-51. Epub 2001 Sep 24.

Biologically active APRIL is secreted following intracellular processing in the Golgi apparatus by furin convertase.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Oncology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, UAM Campus de Cantoblanco, E-28049 Madrid, Spain.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) ligand family members are synthesized as transmembrane proteins, and cleavage of the membrane-anchored proteins from the cell surface is frequently observed. The TNF-related ligands APRIL and BLyS and their cognate receptors BCMA/TACI form a two ligand/two receptor system that has been shown to participate in B- and T-cell stimulation. In contrast to BLyS, which is known to be cleaved from the cell surface, we found that APRIL is processed intracellularly by furin convertase. Blockage of protein transport from the endoplasmic reticulum to the Golgi apparatus by Brefeldin A treatment abrogated APRIL processing, whereas monensin, an inhibitor of post-Golgi transport, did not interfere with cleavage of APRIL, but blocked secretion of processed APRIL. Thus, APRIL shows a unique maturation pathway among the TNF ligand family members, as it not detectable as a membrane-anchored protein at the cell surface, but is processed in the Golgi apparatus prior to its secretion.

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