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FEBS Lett. 1998 Mar 27;425(2):195-8.

TRAF2 plays a dual role in NF-kappaB-dependent gene activation by mediating the TNF-induced activation of p38 MAPK and IkappaB kinase pathways.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology and University of Ghent, Belgium.


We previously demonstrated that p38 MAPK is a crucial mediator in the NF-kappaB-dependent gene activation induced by TNF. Here, we have studied the role of several TNF receptor-associated proteins and caspases in p38 MAPK activation by TNF. The latter appears to be dependent on TRAF2, but independent of FADD or caspases. Remarkably, p38 MAPK activation by TNF proceeds independently of the TRAF2-associated NF-kappaB-inducing kinase NIK, which is known to bind and activate two recently identified IkappaB kinases. These results demonstrate that two kinase pathways involved in NF-kappaB regulation, viz. NIK and p38 MAPK-mediated, diverge at the level of TRAF2.

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