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EMBO J. 1997 Sep 1;16(17):5386-97.

TRAIL-R2: a novel apoptosis-mediating receptor for TRAIL.

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  • 1Immunex Corporation, 51 University Street, Seattle, WA 98101, USA.


TRAIL is a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family of cytokines and induces apoptosis in a wide variety of cells. Based on homology searching of a private database, a receptor for TRAIL (DR4 or TRAIL-R1) was recently identified. Here we report the identification of a distinct receptor for TRAIL, TRAIL-R2, by ligand-based affinity purification and subsequent molecular cloning. TRAIL-R2 was purified independently as the only receptor for TRAIL detectable on the surface of two different human cell lines that undergo apoptosis upon stimulation with TRAIL. TRAIL-R2 contains two extracellular cysteine-rich repeats, typical for TNF receptor (TNFR) family members, and a cytoplasmic death domain. TRAIL binds to recombinant cell-surface-expressed TRAIL-R2, and TRAIL-induced apoptosis is inhibited by a TRAIL-R2-Fc fusion protein. TRAIL-R2 mRNA is widely expressed and the gene encoding TRAIL-R2 is located on human chromosome 8p22-21. Like TRAIL-R1, TRAIL-R2 engages a caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway but, in contrast to TRAIL-R1, TRAIL-R2 mediates apoptosis via the intracellular adaptor molecule FADD/MORT1. The existence of two distinct receptors for the same ligand suggests an unexpected complexity to TRAIL biology, reminiscent of dual receptors for TNF, the canonical member of this family.

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