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Genes Cells. 1999 Jun;4(6):353-62.

Severe osteopetrosis, defective interleukin-1 signalling and lymph node organogenesis in TRAF6-deficient mice.

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Department of Oncology, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, 4-6-1 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan.



TRAF6, a member of the tumour necrosis factor receptor-associated factor family, was first identified as a transducer of CD40 and interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R) signals based on the interaction of TRAF6 with the cytoplasmic tail of CD40 and with the IL-1R associated kinase in vitro. However, the functions of TRAF6 in vivo remain unidentified.


We show that TRAF6-/- mice exhibit severe osteopetrosis and are defective in osteoclast formation. In vitro culture experiments revealed that osteoclast precursor cells derived from TRAF6-/- mice are unable to differentiate to functional osteoclasts in response to osteoclast differentiation factor (ODF). In bone marrow of TRAF6-/- mice, the number of sIgM+B220+ immature B cells is markedly reduced while the ratio of proB to preB cells is not affected. In contrast, development of thymocytes is not affected. Furthermore, TRAF6-/- mice are defective in lymph node organogenesis and IL-1 signalling in thymocytes.


The results identify TRAF6 as an essential component of ODF signalling pathway, and also show that TRAF6 plays pivotal roles in immune and inflammatory systems in vivo.

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