Presenting TNF signalling: 19 ligands, 29 receptors, multiple effects in health and disease

2018 - 12 - 20

What did we learn over the past 30 years and what is our present knowledge on cell signalling involving the key pro-inflammatory cytokine Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF)? The superfamily of TNF ligands and receptors comprise the impressive number of 19 and 29 members, respectively. A recent review, authored by LIH scientists, summarises their diverse functions.

Dr Catherine Dostert, Dr Melanie Grusdat and Prof Dirk Brenner from the “Experimental & Molecular Immunology” research group at LIH’s Department of Infection and Immunity, and Dr Elisabeth Letellier from the Life Sciences Research Unit at the University of Luxembourg, present our current understanding of the TNF ligand and receptor superfamily in a review entitled “The TNF Family of Ligands and Receptors: Communication Modules in the Immune System and Beyond”. It will be published in January 2019 issue of the top journal Physiological Reviews (impact factor 24.014; 5 years impact factor 34.299).

The members of the superfamily of TNR ligands and receptors regulate multiples pathways for cell homeostasis, differentiation, survival and programmed death. Their most critical functions relate however to the immune system where they activate amongst others the proinflammatory NF-κB pathway in immune cells. Dysregulation of these signalling pathways has been associated with inflammatory diseases, autoimmune disorders and cancer. Although the members of the TNF superfamily are being intensively studied on a structural and functional level, a better understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying the molecular pathways they mediate could help to design more effective anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer therapies.

The TNF superfamily is functionally very diverse, however, we provide a comprehensive summary of the current state of the art and recent advances in the field. Research on the TNF superfamily members has developed from initially pure basic and clinical research to the development of targeted therapies with many clinical trials still ongoing. We hope that the readers share our fascination for these key cellular regulators and their therapeutic potential ’, explain Dr Dostert and Prof Brenner.