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EMBO J. 2002 Nov 1;21(21):5711-20.

An endogenous hybrid mRNA encodes TWE-PRIL, a functional cell surface TWEAK-APRIL fusion protein.

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


TWEAK and APRIL are two recently identified tumour necrosis factor (TNF) ligand family members, implicated in angiogenesis and immune regulation, respectively. TWEAK is a transmembrane protein expressed on the cell surface, whereas APRIL acts solely as a secreted factor. In this report, using RACE, RT-PCR, cDNA library screening and an RNase protection assay, we characterize a hybrid transcript between TWEAK and APRIL mRNAs. The encoded TWE-PRIL protein is composed of TWEAK cytoplasmic and transmembrane domains fused to the APRIL C-terminal domain. TWE-PRIL mRNA is expressed and translated in human primary T cells and monocytes, and endogenous TWE-PRIL protein was detected in primary human T lymphocytes and monocytic cell lines. TWE-PRIL is membrane anchored and presents the APRIL receptor-binding domain at the cell surface. It is a biologically active ligand, as it stimulates cycling in T- and B-lymphoma cell lines. Much like membrane-bound and secreted TNF-alpha, the different cellular localizations of TWE-PRIL and APRIL suggest that they exert distinct biological roles.

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