CARMA proteins are scaffold molecules that contain a caspase recruitment domain and a membrane-associated guanylate kinase-like domain. CARMA1 plays a critical role in mediating activation of the NFkappaB transcription factor following antigen receptor stimulation of both B and T lymphocytes. However, the biochemical mechanism by which CARMA1 regulates activation of NFkappaB remains to be determined. Here we have shown that CARMA1 and CARMA3 physically associate with Ikappa kinase gamma/NFkappaB essential modulator (IkappaKgamma-NEMO) in lymphoid and non-lymphoid cells. CARMA1 participates to an inducible large molecular complex that contains IkappaKgamma/NEMO, Bcl10, and IkappaKalpha/beta kinases. Expression of the NEMO-binding region of CARMA3 exerts a dominant negative effect on Bcl10-mediated activation of NFkappaB. Thus, our results provide direct evidence for physical and functional interaction between CARMA and the IkappaK complex and offer a biochemical framework to understand the molecular activities controlled by CARMA-1, -2, and -3 and Bcl10.
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