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Cell. 2000 Jun 23;101(7):777-87.

A novel mechanism of TRAF signaling revealed by structural and functional analyses of the TRADD-TRAF2 interaction.

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Department of Biochemistry, Weill Medical College and Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


TRAF proteins are major mediators for the cell activation, cell survival, and antiapoptotic functions of the TNF receptor superfamily. They can be recruited to activated TNF receptors either by direct interactions with the receptors or indirectly via the adaptor protein TRADD. We now report the structure of the TRADD-TRAF2 complex, which is highly distinct from receptor-TRAF2 interactions. This interaction is significantly stronger and we show by an in vivo signaling assay that TRAF2 signaling is more readily initiated by TRADD than by direct receptor-TRAF2 interactions. TRADD is specific for TRAF1 and TRAF2, which ensures the recruitment of clAPs for the direct inhibition of caspase activation in the signaling complex. The stronger affinity and unique specificity of the TRADD-TRAF2 interaction are crucial for the suppression of apoptosis and provide a mechanistic basis for the perturbation of TRAF recruitment in sensitizing cell death induction.

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