Inhibition of tumor necrosis factor-induced necrotic cell death by the zinc finger protein A20

Anticancer Res. Jul-Aug 1999;19(4B):2863-8.


Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) is a cytokine that induces necrotic and apoptotic forms of cell death. The TNF-induced signalling mechanisms leading to necrosis or apoptosis are partially distinct, and are therefore likely to be regulated in a different way. The zinc finger protein A20 is a TNF-induced primary response gene that has been shown to inhibit TNF-induced apoptosis. However, its ability to inhibit the necrotic route of cell death as well as the underlying mechanism remains unknown. Here we show that stable expression of A20 or a fusion protein consisting of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and A20 protects the TNF-sensitive fibroblast cell line L929 partially from TNF-induced necrotic cell death. TNF-induced necrosis has been shown to involve the activation of several phospholipases, as well as an increased production of reactive oxygen radicals. The reduced TNF-sensitivity of A20-expressing L929 cells was correlated with a decrease of TNF-induced phospholipase A2 (PLA2), phospholipase C (PLC) and phospholipase D (PLD) activation. Furthermore, production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen intermediates was retarded by overexpression of A20. These results demonstrate that A20 not only inhibits TNF-induced apoptosis but also TNF-induced necrosis, suggesting that it interferes with an early step in TNF signalling which is required for both types of cell death.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / physiology*
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Fibrosarcoma / enzymology
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Mice
  • Necrosis
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phospholipases / metabolism
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha-Induced Protein 3
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Phospholipases
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha-Induced Protein 3
  • Cysteine Endopeptidases
  • Tnfaip3 protein, mouse