Stimulus-dependent synergism of the antiapoptotic tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and nuclear factor κB pathways

Soo Young Lee, David R. Kaufman, Ana L. Mora, Angela Santana, Mark Boothby, Yongwon Choi

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47 Scopus citations


Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) signaling leads to pleiotropic responses in a wide range of cell types, in part by activating antiapoptotic and proapoptotic signaling pathways. Thus, although TNF can cause apoptosis and may prove useful in the treatment of malignancies, most cells are resistant to TNF-induced cell death unless de novo protein synthesis is inhibited. Previous studies suggested that TNF activation of the nuclear factor (NF)- κB transcription factor family antagonizes the proapoptotic signals initiated by TNF-α. TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF)2 has also been shown to mediate crucial antiapoptotic signals during TNF stimulation, yet is not essential in activation of NF-κB under physiologic conditions, thus raising questions about the relationship between these antiapoptotic pathways. We report here that inhibition of TRAF2 and NF-κB function in primary cells, by coexpression of a constitutive repressor of multiple NF- κB/Rel proteins (IκBα.DN) and a dominant negative form of TKAF2 (TRAF2.DN), synergistically enhanced TNF-induced apoptosis. The effects were stimulus dependent, such that neither inhibitory molecule affected Fas- and daunorubicin-induced apoptosis to the same degree as TNF-induced death. These findings indicate that the NF-κB and TRAF2 pathways activate independent antiapoptotic mechanisms which act in concert to suppress the proapoptotic signals induced by TNF-α.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1381-1384
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - 5 Oct 1998


  • Apoptosis
  • Nuclear factor κB
  • Signal transduction
  • Tumor necrosis factor
  • Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2


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