The poxvirus tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) homologue T2 has immunomodulatory properties; secreted myxoma virus T2 (M-T2) protein binds and inhibits rabbit TNF-α, while intracellular M-T2 blocks virus-induced lymphocyte apoptosis. Here, we define the antiapoptotic function as inhibition of TNFR-mediated death via a highly conserved viral preligand assembly domain (vPLAD). Jurkat cell lines constitutively expressing M-T2 were generated and shown to be resistant to UV irradiation-, etoposide-, and cycloheximide-induced death. These cells were also resistant to human TNF-α, but M-T2 expression did not alter surface expression levels of TNFRs. Previous studies indicated that T2's antiapoptotic function was conferred by the N-terminal region of the protein, and further examination of this region revealed a highly conserved N-terminal vPLAD, which is present in all poxvirus T2-like molecules. In cellular TNFRs and TNF-α-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) receptors (TRAILRs), PLAD controls receptor signaling competency prior to ligand binding. Here, we show that M-T2 potently inhibits TNFR1-induced death in a manner requiring the M-T2 vPLAD. Furthermore, we demonstrate that M-T2 physically associates with and colocalizes with human TNFRs but does not prevent human TNF-α binding to cellular receptors. Thus, M-T2 vPLAD is a species-nonspecific dominant-negative inhibitor of cellular TNFR1 function. Given that the PLAD is conserved in all known poxvirus T2-like molecules, we predict that it plays an important function in each of these proteins. Moreover, that the vPLAD confers an important antiapoptotic function confirms this domain as a potential target in the development of the next generation of TNF-α/TNFR therapeutics.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Insect Science