TRAF5 is a critical mediator of in vitro signals and in vivo functions of LMP1, the viral oncogenic mimic of CD40

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Oct 6;106(40):17140-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0903786106. Epub 2009 Sep 17.


The cytoplasmic signaling protein TNF receptor-associated factor 5 (TRAF5) has been implicated in several biological roles in T-lymphocyte responses. However, a clear connection between in vivo TRAF5 immune cell functions and specific signaling pathways has not been made. This study shows that TRAF5 associated strongly with the viral oncogenic CD40 mimic latent membrane protein 1 (LMP1), in contrast to weaker association with CD40, for which it has been shown to play a modest role. LMP1 uses specific TRAFs differently than CD40, resulting in amplified and dysregulated CD40-like activation of B lymphocytes. When the cytoplasmic domain of LMP1 is expressed as a transgenic replacement for CD40 in mouse B cells, the resulting mouse exhibits measures of B-cell hyperactivity such as splenomegaly, lymphadenopathy, elevated serum IL-6, elevated serum autoantibodies, and abnormal splenic architecture. Thus, in contrast to CD40, TRAF5 may have an important nonredundant role as a positive mediator of LMP1 signaling and functions in B cells. To test this hypothesis, mice were created that express mCD40LMP1 in place of CD40, and are either sufficient or deficient in TRAF5. Results revealed that TRAF5 plays a critical role in LMP1-mediated c-Jun kinase signaling and is required for much of the abnormal phenotype observed in mCD40LMP1 transgenic mice. This is the first report showing a major requirement for TRAF5 in signaling by a specific receptor both in vitro and in vivo, as well as playing an important role in biological function in B lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Antinuclear / blood
  • B-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • CD40 Antigens / genetics
  • CD40 Antigens / immunology*
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Interleukin-6 / blood
  • Lymph Nodes / cytology
  • Lymph Nodes / immunology
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4 / metabolism
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / immunology*
  • Spleen / cytology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • Spleen / metabolism
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 5 / genetics
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 5 / immunology*
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 5 / metabolism
  • Time Factors
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / immunology*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / metabolism


  • Antibodies, Antinuclear
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Interleukin-6
  • NF-kappa B
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 5
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • MAP kinase kinase kinase 7
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4