The processing of human pro-tumor necrosis factor

Ping Tang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Human pro-TNF-$\alpha$ is a 26 kd type II transmembrane protein, and it is the precursor of 17 kd mature TNF. Pro-TNF release mature from its extracellular domain by proteolytic cleavage between resideu Ava ($-$1) and Val (+1). Both forms of TNF are biologically active and the native form of mature TNF is a bell-shaped trimer. The structure of pro-TNF was studied both in intact cell system and in an in vitro translation system by chemical crosslinking. We found that human pro-TNF protein exist as a trimer in intact cells (LPS-induced THP-1 cells and TNF cDNA transfected COS-3 cells) and this trimeric structure is assembled intracellularly, possibly in the ER. By analysis several deletion mutants, we observed a correlation between expression of pro-TNF cytotoxicity in a juxtacrine fashion and detection of the trimer, suggesting the trimeric structure is very important for its biologic activity. With a series of deletion mutants in the linking domain, we found that the small deletion did not block the cleavage and large deletion did regardless of the presence or absence of the native cleavage site, suggesting that the length of the residues between the plasma membrane and the base of the trimer determines the rate of the cleavage, possibly by blocking the accessibility of the cleavage enzyme to its action site. Our data also suggest that the native cleavage site is not sufficient for the release of mature TNF and alternative cleavage site(s) exists.

Subject Area

Immunology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Tang, Ping, "The processing of human pro-tumor necrosis factor" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9600563.