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J Immunol. 2010 Aug 1;185(3):1593-605. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0903555. Epub 2010 Jul 7.

Soluble and transmembrane TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis differentially activate the classical and noncanonical NF-kappa B pathway.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine II, University Hospital Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis, TWEAK, is a typical member of the TNF ligand family. Thus, it is initially expressed as a type II transmembrane protein from which a soluble variant can be released by proteolytic processing. In this study, we show that membrane TWEAK is superior to soluble variant of TWEAK (sTWEAK) with respect to the activation of the classical NF-kappaB pathway, whereas both TWEAK variants are potent inducers of TNFR-associated factor-2 depletion, NF-kappaB-inducing kinase accumulation and p100 processing, hallmarks of activation of the noncanonical NF-kappaB pathway. Like other soluble TNF ligands with a poor capability to activate their corresponding receptor, sTWEAK acquires an activity resembling those of the transmembrane ligand by oligomerization or cell surface-immobilization. Blockade of the Fn14 receptor inhibited NF-kappaB signaling irrespective of the TWEAK form used for stimulation, indicating that the differential activities of the two TWEAK variants on classical and noncanonical NF-kappaB signaling is not related to the use of different receptors.

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