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Cell. 1993 Mar 26;72(6):847-56.

Lymphotoxin beta, a novel member of the TNF family that forms a heteromeric complex with lymphotoxin on the cell surface.

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Biogen Incorporated 14 Cambridge Center, Massachusetts 02142.


The lymphokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) has a well-defined role as an inducer of inflammatory responses; however, the function of the structurally related molecule lymphotoxin (LT alpha) is unknown. LT alpha is present on the surface of activated T, B, and LAK cells as a complex with a 33 kd glycoprotein, and cloning of the cDNA encoding the associated protein, called lymphotoxin beta (LT beta), revealed it to be a type II membrane protein with significant homology to TNF, LT alpha, and the ligand for the CD40 receptor. The gene for LT beta was found next to the TNF-LT locus in the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), a region of the MHC with possible linkage to autoimmune disease. These observations raise the possibility that a surface LT alpha-LT beta complex may have a specific role in immune regulation distinct from the functions ascribed to TNF.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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