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J Biol Chem. 1999 Oct 22;274(43):30603-10.

Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptors signal NF-kappaB and JNK activation and apoptosis through distinct pathways.

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  • 1National Jewish Medical and Research Center, Division of Basic Immunology, Department of Immunology, Denver, Colorado 80206, USA.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a member of the TNF family that interacts with several receptors, including TRAIL-R1, TRAIL-R2, and TRAIL-R4. TRAIL-R1 and TRAIL-R2 can induce apoptosis of cancer cells and activate the transcription factor NF-kappaB. TRAIL-R4 can activate NF-kappaB and protect cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Here we show that TRAIL-R1-, TRAIL-R2-, and TRAIL-R4-induced NF-kappaB activation are mediated by a TRAF2-NIK-IkappaB kinase alpha/beta signaling cascade but is MEKK1 independent. TRAIL receptors also activate the protein kinase JNK. JNK activation by TRAIL-R1 is mediated by a TRAF2-MEKK1-MKK4 but not the TRAF2-NIK/IkappaB kinase alpha/beta signaling pathway. We also show that activation of NF-kappaB or overexpression of TRAIL-R4 does not protect TRAIL-R1-induced apoptosis. Moreover, inhibition of NF-kappaB by IkappaBalpha sensitizes cells to tumor necrosis factor- but not TRAIL-induced apoptosis. These findings suggest that TRAIL receptors induce apoptosis, NF-kappaB and JNK activation through distinct signaling pathways, and activation of NF-kappaB is not sufficient for protecting cells from TRAIL-induced apoptosis.

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