TRAF1 Signaling in Human Health and Disease

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Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) associated factor 1 (TRAF1) is a signaling adaptor first identified as part of the TNFR2 signaling complex. TRAF1 plays a key role in pro-survival signaling downstream of TNFR superfamily members such as TNFR2, LMP1, 4-1BB, and CD40. Recent studies have uncovered another role for TRAF1, independent of its role in TNFR superfamily signaling, in negatively regulating Toll-like receptor and Nod-like receptor signaling, through sequestering the linear ubiquitin assembly complex, LUBAC. TRAF1 has diverse roles in human disease. TRAF1 is overexpressed in many B cell related cancers and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TRAF1 have been linked to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Genome wide association studies have identified an association between SNPs in the 5' untranslated region of the TRAF1 gene with increased incidence and severity of rheumatoid arthritis and other rheumatic diseases. The loss of TRAF1 from chronically stimulated CD8 T cells results in desensitization of the 4-1BB signaling pathway, thereby contributing to T cell exhaustion during chronic infection. These apparently opposing roles of TRAF1 as both a positive and negative regulator of immune signaling have led to some confusion in the literature. Here we review the role of TRAF1 as a positive and negative regulator in different signaling pathways. Then we discuss the role of TRAF1 in human disease, attempting to reconcile seemingly contradictory roles based on current knowledge of TRAF1 signaling and biology. We also discuss avenues for future research to further clarify the impact of TRAF1 in human disease.




Edilova, M. I., Abdul-Sater, A. A., & Watts, T. H. (2018). TRAF1 Signaling in Human Health and Disease. Frontiers in Immunology. NLM (Medline).

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