An impressive example of the functional significance of the soluble TNF receptors is provided by the action of their virus-produced analogs. Several viruses, all of the poxvirus family, have been found to encode such 'TNF viroceptors'. These molecules arc comprised of the same cysteine-rich repeated motifs that occur in the extracellular domains of the cellular TNF receptors. They also contain a unique C-terminal region, which in some of these receptors imposes formation of receptor dimers. Some of those viroceptors bind TNFa only, whereas others bind both TNFa and TNF/3. Deletion of the DNA regions encoding these viroceptors from the genome of the viruses does not affect their replication in cultured cells. However, it significantly compromises their pathogenicity in infected animals, indicating that the viroceptors counteract a rather effective antiviral function of TNF.
See also: Apoptosis; Cytokine inhibitors; Cytokine receptors, soluble; Cytokines; Cytokine receptors; Cytotoxicity, mechanisms of; Fas (C095) and fas ligand; Inflammatory bowel disease; Interleukin 1 and its receptors; Lymph nodes; Rheumatoid arthritis, human; Septic shock; Tumor necrosis factor a; Lym-photoxin.
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