Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta) is a multifunctional growth factor that has a principal role in growth control through both its cytostatic effect on many different epithelial cell types and its ability to induce programmed cell death in a variety of other cell types. Here we have used a screen for proteins that interact physically with the cytoplasmic domain of the type II TGF-beta receptor to isolate the gene encoding Daxx - a protein associated with the Fas receptor that mediates activation of Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK) and programmed cell death induced by Fas. The carboxy-terminal portion of Daxx functions as a dominant-negative inhibitor of TGF-beta-induced apoptosis in B-cell lymphomas, and antisense oligonucleotides to Daxx inhibit TGF-beta-induced apoptosis in mouse hepatocytes. Furthermore, Daxx is involved in mediating JNK activation by TGF-beta. Our findings associate Daxx directly with the TGF-beta apoptotic-signalling pathway, and make a biochemical connection between the receptors for TGF-beta and the apoptotic machinery.
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