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Mol Immunol. 1999 Jul;36(10):647-58.

TRAF-3 mRNA splice-deletion variants encode isoforms that induce NF-kappaB activation.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Although TRAF-3 gene products are required for signaling in T-B cell collaboration, full-length TRAF-3 appears to lack signaling function in transient transfection assays that measure NF-kappaB activation. However, the TRAF-3 gene also encodes at least three mRNA splice-deletion variants that predict protein isoforms (delta25aa, delta52aa and delta56aa) with altered zinc (Zn) finger domains and unknown functional capacities. To determine whether TRAF-3 splice-deletion variants may transmit activating receptor signals to the nucleus, cDNAs for five additional splice-variant isoforms (delta27aa, delta83aa, delta103aa, delta130aa and delta221aa) were cloned from a TRAF-3+ lymphoma and the expression and function of each of the eight TRAF-3 splice-deletion variants was analyzed. Among the splice-deletion variants, TRAF-3 delta130 mRNA is expressed by tonsillar B cells and by each of a panel of B and T cell lines. TRAF-3 delta221 protein is expressed by tonsillar B cells and by each of the lymphocytic lines. The functional effect of over-expressing each TRAF-3 splice-deletion variant on NF-kappaB activation was studied in 293 T cells. Seven of the TRAF-3 splice-deletion variants, such as TRAF-3 delta130, induce substantial NF-kappaB-driven luciferase activity (80-500 fold). In contrast, TRAF-3 delta221 (in which the complete Zn finger domain is absent) fails to induce NF-kappaB activation. Although full-length TRAF-3 alone is inactive, it augments the functional effects of the seven activating TRAF-3 splice-deletion variants (1.4-5 fold). These data indicate that alterations of the Zn finger domains render the TRAF-3 splice-deletion variants capable of inducing NF-kappaB activation and that full-length TRAF-3 augments their signaling.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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