TNF-related weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a member of the TNF ligand family that induces angiogenesis in vivo. The TWEAK receptor (TweakR) is a recently identified member of the TNF receptor (TNFR) superfamily and is expressed on smooth muscle cells (SMCs) and endothelial cells (ECs). In this report we identify the TNF receptor-associated factor (TRAF) family of signal transducers as important components of TweakR-mediated NF-kappa B activation. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments suggested potential interactions between the cytoplasmic tail of TweakR with TRAFs 1, 2, 3, and 5. Dominant negative forms of TRAF2 and TRAF5 substantially inhibited TweakR-mediated NF-kappa B activation, suggesting a role of TRAFs in regulating smooth muscle and endothelial cell function. Using alanine-scanning analysis, we defined a TRAF-binding motif, PIEET, in TweakR that mediates TRAF binding and NF-kappa B activation. Furthermore, TweakR mutations within the TRAF-binding motif abolished TweakR-stimulated SMC migration, revealing a role for TRAFs in TweakR-induced activation events.