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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jul 6;282(27):19365-74. Epub 2007 Apr 26.

Caspase-8 and c-FLIPL associate in lipid rafts with NF-kappaB adaptors during T cell activation.

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  • 1Immunobiology Program, Department of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont 05405-0068, USA.


Humans and mice lacking functional caspase-8 in T cells manifest a profound immunodeficiency syndrome due to defective T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-induced NF-kappaB signaling and proliferation. It is unknown how caspase-8 is activated following T cell stimulation, and what is the caspase-8 substrate(s) that is necessary to initiate T cell cycling. We observe that following TCR ligation, a small portion of total cellular caspase-8 and c-FLIP(L) rapidly migrate to lipid rafts where they associate in an active caspase complex. Activation of caspase-8 in lipid rafts is followed by rapid cleavage of c-FLIP(L) at a known caspase-8 cleavage site. The active caspase.c-FLIP complex forms in the absence of Fas (CD95/APO1) and associates with the NF-kappaB signaling molecules RIP1, TRAF2, and TRAF6, as well as upstream NF-kappaB regulators PKC theta, CARMA1, Bcl-10, and MALT1, which connect to the TCR. The lack of caspase-8 results in the absence of MALT1 and Bcl-10 in the active caspase complex. Consistent with this observation, inhibition of caspase activity attenuates NF-kappaB activation. The current findings define a link among TCR, caspases, and the NF-kappaB pathway that occurs in a sequestered lipid raft environment in T cells.

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