The cytoplasmic C-terminus of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1) is essential for B lymphocyte growth transformation and is now shown to interact with a novel human protein (LMP1-associated protein 1 [LAP1]). LAP1 is homologous to a murine protein, tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2), implicated in growth signaling from the p80 TNFR. A second novel protein (EBI6), induced by EBV infection, is the human homolog of a second murine TNFR-associated protein (TRAF1). LMP1 expression causes LAP1 and EBI6 to localize to LMP1 clusters in lymphoblast plasma membranes, and LMP1 coimmunoprecipitates with these proteins. LAP1 binds to the p80 TNFR, CD40, and the lymphotoxin-beta receptor, while EBI6 associates with the p80 TNFR. The interaction of LMP1 with these TNFR family-associated proteins is further evidence for their role in signaling and links LMP1-mediated transformation to signal transduction from the TNFR family.
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