We and others recently reported tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and apoptosis ligand-related leukocyte-expressed ligand 1 (TALL-1) as a novel member of the TNF ligand family that is functionally involved in B cell proliferation. Transgenic mice overexpressing TALL-1 have severe B cell hyperplasia and lupus-like autoimmune disease. Here, we describe expression cloning of a cell surface receptor for TALL-1 from a human Burkitt's lymphoma RAJI cell library. The cloned receptor is identical to the previously reported TNF receptor (TNFR) homologue transmembrane activator and calcium modulator and cyclophilin ligand (CAML) interactor (TACI). Murine TACI was subsequently isolated from the mouse B lymphoma A20 cells. Human and murine TACI share 54% identity overall. Human TACI exhibits high binding affinities to both human and murine TALL-1. Soluble TACI extracellular domain protein specifically blocks TALL-1-mediated B cell proliferation without affecting CD40- or lipopolysaccharide-mediated B cell proliferation in vitro. In addition, when injected into mice, soluble TACI inhibits antibody production to both T cell-dependent and -independent antigens. By yeast two-hybrid screening of a B cell library with TACI intracellular domain, we identified that, like many other TNFR family members, TACI intracellular domain interacts with TNFR-associated factor (TRAF)2, 5, and 6. Correspondingly, TACI activation in a B cell line results in nuclear factor kappaB and c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase activation. The identification and characterization of the receptor for TALL-1 provides useful information for the development of a treatment for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus.
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