The TNF family members BAFF and APRIL: the growing complexity

Cytokine Growth Factor Rev. Jun-Aug 2003;14(3-4):311-24. doi: 10.1016/s1359-6101(03)00023-6.


B cell activating factor belonging to the TNF family (BAFF) and apoptosis-inducing ligand (APRIL) are two related members of the TNF ligand superfamily. Although they share two receptors, TACI and BCMA, transgenic and knockout mice in this system reveal that their functions are not redundant. BAFF is a critical survival/maturation factor for peripheral B cells and this activity is mediated through a BAFF-specific receptor, BAFF-R. Overexpression of BAFF has been linked to autoimmune disease and aspects of B cell neoplasia. APRIL appears to play a role in T-independent type II antigen responses and T cell survival, but can also induce proliferation/survival of non-lymphoid cells. Elevated expression of APRIL has been found in some tumor cell lines and in tumor tissue libraries. Therapies designed to inhibit the BAFF and APRIL pathways holds great promise for the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Infections / etiology
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Neuropeptides / genetics
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / physiology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*


  • ANP32B protein, human
  • B-Cell Activating Factor
  • B-Cell Activation Factor Receptor
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • TNFRSF13C protein, human
  • TNFSF13B protein, human
  • Tnfrsf13c protein, mouse
  • Tnfsf13b protein, mouse
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha