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Curr Biol. 2000 Jun 1;10(11):640-8.

The caspase-8 inhibitor FLIP promotes activation of NF-kappaB and Erk signaling pathways.

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Institute of Biochemistry, University of Lausanne, BIL Biomedical Research Center, Epalinges, CH-1066, Switzerland.



Activation of Fas (CD95) by its ligand (FasL) rapidly induces cell death through recruitment and activation of caspase-8 via the adaptor protein Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD). However, Fas signals do not always result in apoptosis but can also trigger a pathway that leads to proliferation. We investigated the level at which the two conflicting Fas signals diverge and the protein(s) that are implicated in switching the response.


Under conditions in which proliferation of CD3-activated human T lymphocytes is increased by recombinant FasL, there was activation of the transcription factors NF-kappaB and AP-1 and recruitment of the caspase-8 inhibitor and FADD-interacting protein FLIP (FLICE-like inhibitory protein). Fas-recruited FLIP interacts with TNF-receptor associated factors 1 and 2, as well as with the kinases RIP and Raf-1, resulting in the activation of the NF-kappaB and extracellular signal regulated kinase (Erk) signaling pathways. In T cells these two signal pathways are critical for interleukin-2 production. Increased expression of FLIP in T cells resulted in increased production of interleukin-2.


We provide evidence that FLIP is not simply an inhibitor of death-receptor-induced apoptosis but that it also mediates the activation of NF-kappaB and Erk by virtue of its capacity to recruit adaptor proteins involved in these signaling pathways.

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