The tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor (TRAF) family of six adaptor proteins (TRAF1-6) links the TNFR superfamily to the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) and activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcriptional activators. Unlike other TRAFs, TRAF6 is also involved in Toll-like/interleukin (IL)-1 receptor (TIR) signal transduction. Thus, inhibition of TRAF6 function could interrupt both CD40 (TNFR family) and IL-1 growth signals, pathways critical to myeloma proliferation. To block TRAF6-mediated IL-1 signaling, we constructed small interfering RNA (siRNA) against TRAF6. We found that siRNA targeting the TRAF6 C-terminal (siTRAF6C) receptor interaction domain specifically reduced only TRAF6 protein expression, without affecting TRAF2 or 5 levels, and substantially interfered with IL-1-induced NF-kappaB and c-Jun/AP-1 activation. Inhibition by siTRAF6C was concentration-dependent. SiTRAF6C also significantly reduced myeloma proliferation and enhanced apoptosis in a similar dose-dependent fashion in vitro. More importantly, marked siTRAF6C growth inhibition was detected in vivo when these cells were implanted into the bone marrow of irradiated normal mice. In contrast, introduction of siRNA derived from the TRAF6 Zn-finger domain or an irrelevant siRNA construct failed to alter cell growth or cell death. These studies suggest that TRAF6 may be a new molecular target to block cell signal transduction important for the survival and proliferation of multiple myeloma cells.