Objective: To investigate the effect of mutations in the tumor necrosis factor receptor superfamily 1A (TNFRSF1A) gene on the conformation and behavior of the TNFRSF1A protein. Mutations in TNFRSF1A cause the autosomal-dominant, autoinflammatory TNFR-associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS).
Methods: The expression of recombinant TNFRSF1A was compared in SK-HEp-1 endothelial cells and HEK 293 epithelial cells stably transfected with full-length R347A or Deltasig constructs of wild-type or TRAPS-associated mutant TNFRSF1A. TNF binding was assessed in HEK 293 cell lines expressing R347A wild-type or mutant TNFRSF1A. Homology modeling of the 3-dimensional structure of the ectodomains of wild-type and mutant TNFRSF1A was performed.
Results: TRAPS-associated mutant and wild-type TNFRSF1A behaved differently and had different localization properties within the cell, as a direct result of mutations in the ectodomains of TNFRSF1A. From a structural perspective, mutants with a predicted structure similar to that of the wild-type protein (e.g., R92Q) behaved similarly to wild-type TNFRSF1A, whereas forms of TNFRSF1A with mutations predicted to drastically destabilize the protein structure (e.g., cysteine mutations) showed defects in cell surface expression and TNF binding.
Conclusion: The results obtained from the in vitro experiments, in combination with the modeled structures, indicate that the phenotype and clinical differences between different TRAPS-associated mutants of TNFRSF1A result from different conformations of the TNFRSF1A ectodomains.