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J Biol Chem. 2003 Aug 1;278(31):29216-30. Epub 2003 Apr 22.

Caspase-mediated cleavage converts the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor (TRAF)-1 from a selective modulator of TNF receptor signaling to a general inhibitor of NF-kappaB activation.

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Institute of Cell Biology and Immunology, University of Stuttgart, Allmandring 31, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany.


The role of tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor (TRAF)-1 in NF-kappaB activation by various members of the TNF receptor family is not well understood, and conflicting data have been published. Here, we show that TRAF1 differentially affects TRAF2 recruitment and activation of NF-kappaB by members of the TNF receptor family. Interestingly, a naturally occurring caspase-derived cleavage product of TRAF1 solely comprising its TRAF domain (TRAF1-(164-416)) acted as a general inhibitor of NF-kappaB activation. In contrast, a corresponding fragment generated by cleavage of TRAF3 showed no effect in this regard. In accordance with these functional data, TRAF1, but not TRAF3, interacted with the IKK complex via its N-TRAF domain. Endogenous TRAF1 and the overexpressed TRAF domain of TRAF1 were found to be constitutively associated with the IKK complex, whereas endogenous receptor interacting protein was only transiently associated with the IKK complex upon TNF stimulation. Importantly, the caspase-generated TRAF1-fragment, but not TRAF1 itself inhibited IKK activation. Our results suggest that TRAF1 and TRAF1-(164-416) exert their regulatory effects on receptor-induced NF-kappaB activation not only by modulation of TRAF2 receptor interaction but especially TRAF1-(164-416) also by directly targeting the IKK complex.

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