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J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 17;279(51):52824-34. Epub 2004 Sep 30.

cFLIPL inhibits tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand-mediated NF-kappaB activation at the death-inducing signaling complex in human keratinocytes.

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University of Würzburg Medical School, Department of Dermatology, Josef-Schneider-Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany.


Human keratinocytes undergo apoptosis following treatment with tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) via surface-expressed TRAIL receptors 1 and 2. In addition, TRAIL triggers nonapoptotic signaling pathways including activation of the transcription factor NF-kappaB, in particular when TRAIL-induced apoptosis is blocked. The intracellular protein cFLIP(L) interferes with TRAIL-induced apoptosis at the death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) in many cell types. To study the role of cFLIP(L) in TRAIL signaling, we established stable HaCaT keratinocyte cell lines expressing varying levels of cFLIP(L). Functional analysis revealed that relative cFLIP(L) levels correlated with apoptosis resistance to TRAIL. Surprisingly, cFLIP(L) specifically blocked TRAIL-induced NF-kappaB activation and TRAIL-dependent induction of the proinflammatory target gene interleukin-8. Biochemical characterization of the signaling pathways involved showed that apoptosis signaling was inhibited at the DISC in cFLIP(L)-overexpressing keratinocytes, although cFLIP(L) did not significantly impair enzymatic activity of the receptor complex. In contrast, recruitment and modification of receptor-interacting protein was blocked in cFLIP(L)-overexpressing cells. Taken together, our data demonstrate that cFLIP(L) is not only a central antiapoptotic modulator of TRAIL-mediated apoptosis but also an inhibitor of TRAIL-induced NF-kappaB activation and subsequent proinflammatory target gene expression. Hence, cFLIP(L) modulation in keratinocytes may not only influence apoptosis sensitivity but may also lead to altered death receptor-dependent skin inflammation.

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