Send to

Choose Destination
Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Apr;26(8):3071-84.

Autocrine tumor necrosis factor alpha links endoplasmic reticulum stress to the membrane death receptor pathway through IRE1alpha-mediated NF-kappaB activation and down-regulation of TRAF2 expression.

Author information

Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 702 Light Hall, Nashville, TN 37232-0615, USA.


NF-kappaB is critical for determining cellular sensitivity to apoptotic stimuli by regulating both mitochondrial and death receptor apoptotic pathways. The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) emerges as a new apoptotic signaling initiator. However, the mechanism by which ER stress activates NF-kappaB and its role in regulation of ER stress-induced cell death are largely unclear. Here, we report that, in response to ER stress, IKK forms a complex with IRE1alpha through the adapter protein TRAF2. ER stress-induced NF-kappaB activation is impaired in IRE1alpha knockdown cells and IRE1alpha(-/-) MEFs. We found, however, that inhibiting NF-kappaB significantly decreased ER stress-induced cell death in a caspase-8-dependent manner. Gene expression analysis revealed that ER stress-induced expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) was IRE1alpha and NF-kappaB dependent. Blocking TNF receptor 1 signaling significantly inhibited ER stress-induced cell death. Further studies suggest that ER stress induces down-regulation of TRAF2 expression, which impairs TNF-alpha-induced activation of NF-kappaB and c-Jun N-terminal kinase and turns TNF-alpha from a weak to a powerful apoptosis inducer. Thus, ER stress induces two signals, namely TNF-alpha induction and TRAF2 down-regulation. They work in concert to amplify ER-initiated apoptotic signaling through the membrane death receptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center