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Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. 1999 Mar;10(1):15-26.

TNF receptor associated factors in cytokine signaling.

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Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Stuttgart, Germany.


Just four years ago the first two members of a new family of molecules involved in signal transduction by members of the TNF receptor superfamily were described and designated TNF Receptor Associated Factors (TRAFs). In the meantime six human and murine TRAFs as well as a TRAF protein from C. elegans have been molecularly cloned. From our current point of view, TRAF proteins appear to represent multifunctional signal adaptors, tightly embedded in a network of signals culminating in the activation of kinase cascades that finally lead to the activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase. p38 mitogen activated protein kinase, and the transcription factor NF-kappaB, thereby also affecting the balance between survival and cell death. Some of the activities of the individual TRAF family members may be redundant although transgenic knockout animal models have already shown that crucial signaling pathways for single TRAF molecules in vivo can be defined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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