TRAF1 is a critical regulator of JNK signalling by the TRAF-binding domain of the Epstein-Barr virus-encoded latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1) but not CD40

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The oncogenic Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-encoded latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1) mimics a constitutive active tumor necrosis factor (TNF) family receptor in its ability to recruit TNF receptor-associated factors (TRAFs) and TNF receptor-associated death domain protein (TRADD) in a ligand-independent manner. As a result, LMP1 constitutively engages signaling pathways, such as the JNK and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), the transcription factor NF-kappaB, and the JAK/STAT cascade, and these activities may explain many of its pleiotropic effects on cell phenotype, growth, and transformation. In this study we demonstrate the ability of the TRAF-binding domain of LMP1 to signal on the JNK/AP-1 axis in a cell type-dependent manner that critically involves TRAF1 and TRAF2. Thus, expression of this LMP1 domain in TRAF1-positive lymphoma cells promotes significant JNK activation, which is blocked by dominant-negative TRAF2 but not TRAF5. However, TRAF1 is absent in many established epithelial cell lines and primary nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) biopsy specimens. In these cells, JNK activation by the TRAF-binding domain of LMP1 depends on the reconstitution of TRAF1 expression. The critical role of TRAF1 in the regulation of TRAF2-dependent JNK signaling is particular to the TRAF-binding domain of LMP1, since a homologous region in the cytoplasmic tail of CD40 or the TRADD-interacting domain of LMP1 signal on the JNK axis independently of TRAF1 status. These data further dissect the signaling components used by LMP1 and identify a novel role for TRAF1 as a modulator of oncogenic signals.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1316-1328
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2002