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Mol Cell Biol. 2001 Aug;21(16):5299-305.

NF-kappaB signals induce the expression of c-FLIP.

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


Activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB is a major effector of the inducible resistance to death receptor-mediated apoptosis. Previous evidence indicates that the combined transcriptional activation of TRAF-1, TRAF-2, IAP-1, and IAP-2 is required to suppress cell death by tumor necrosis factor (TNF). Here we show that NF-kappaB activation upregulates the caspase 8 inhibitor FLIP, resulting in increased resistance to Fas ligand (FasL) or TNF. Restoration of either the full-length 55-kDa long form of FLIP or an alternatively spliced short form of FLIP in NF-kappaB null cells inhibits TNF- and FasL-induced cell death efficiently, whereas the expression of IAP or TRAF family members only partially rescues cells from death. Resistance to either FasL- or TNF-induced apoptosis is overcome when cells are incubated in the presence of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. This treatment leads to the rapid downregulation of FLIP but not to that of TRAF2. Our findings suggest that FLIP is an important mediator of NF-kappaB-controlled antiapoptotic signals.

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