Send to

Choose Destination
Agents Actions Suppl. 1991;35:51-7.

Soluble and cell surface receptors for tumor necrosis factor.

Author information

Department of Molecular Genetics and Virology, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) initiates its multiple effects on cell function by binding at a high affinity to specific cell surface receptors. Two different molecular species of these receptors, which are expressed differentially in different cells, have been identified. The cDNAs of both receptors have recently been cloned. Antibodies to one of these receptor species (the p55, type I receptor) can trigger a variety of TNF like effects by cross-linking of the receptor molecules. Thus, it is not TNF itself but its receptors that provide the signal for the response to this cytokine. The intracellular domains of the two receptors differ in structure, suggesting that they mediate different activities. Their extracellular domains, however, are structurally related. Both contain cysteine-rich repeats which are homologous to repeated structures found in the extracellular domains of the nerve growth factor receptor and the CDw40 protein. Truncated soluble forms of the two receptors, corresponding to these cysteine-rich repeated structures, have been detected in human urine and were later found to be present also in the serum. The serum levels of those soluble TNF receptors increase dramatically in certain pathological situations. Release of the soluble receptors from the cells seems to occur by proteolytic cleavage of the cell surface forms and appears to be a way of down-regulating the cell response to TNF. Because of their ability to bind TNF, the soluble receptors exert an inhibitory effect on TNF function, and may thus act as physiological attenuators of its activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center