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J Biol Chem. 2011 Mar 25;286(12):9948-55. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.185983. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Molecular mechanisms of TNFR-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) utilization by the oncogenic viral mimic of CD40, latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1).

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Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


Latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), encoded by Epstein-Barr virus, is required for EBV-mediated B cell transformation and plays a significant role in the development of posttransplant B cell lymphomas. LMP1 has also been implicated in exacerbation of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus. LMP1 is a constitutively active functional mimic of the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily member CD40, utilizing tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor (TRAF) adaptor proteins to induce signaling. However, LMP1-mediated B cell activation is amplified and sustained compared with CD40. We have previously shown that LMP1 and CD40 use TRAFs 1, 2, 3, and 5 differently. TRAF6 is important for CD40 signaling, but the role of TRAF6 in LMP1 signaling in B cells is not clear. Although TRAF6 binds directly to CD40, TRAF6 interaction with LMP1 in B cells has not been characterized. Here we tested the hypothesis that TRAF6 is a critical regulator of LMP1 signaling in B cells, either as part of a receptor-associated complex and/or as a cytoplasmic adaptor protein. Using TRAF6-deficient B cells, we determined that TRAF6 was critical for LMP1-mediated B cell activation. Although CD40-mediated TRAF6-dependent signaling does not require the TRAF6 receptor-binding domain, we found that LMP1 signaling required the presence of this domain. Furthermore, TRAF6 was recruited to the LMP1 signaling complex via the TRAF1/2/3/5 binding site within the cytoplasmic domain of LMP1.

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