The Journal of biological chemistry

The death effector domain-associated factor plays distinct regulatory roles in the nucleus and cytoplasm.

PMID 11395500


Homophilic interactions of death effector domains (DEDs) are crucial for the signaling pathways of death receptor-mediated apoptosis. The machinery that regulates proper oligomerization and autoactivation of procaspase-8 and/or procaspase-10 during T lymphocyte activation determines whether the cells will undergo caspase-mediated apoptosis or proliferation. We screened a yeast two-hybrid library by using the DEDs contained in the prodomains of procaspase-8 and procaspase-10 and isolated a DED-associated factor (DEDAF) that interacts with several DED-containing proteins but does not itself contain a DED. DEDAF is highly conserved between human and mouse (98% amino acid identity) and is homologous to a nuclear regulatory protein YAF-2. DEDAF is expressed at the highest levels in lymphoid tissues and placenta. DEDAF interacts with FADD, procaspase-8, and procaspase-10 in the cytosol as well as with the DED-containing DNA-binding protein (DEDD) in the nucleus. At the cell membrane, DEDAF augmented the formation of CD95-FADD-caspase-8 complexes and enhanced death receptor- as well as DED-mediated apoptosis. In the nucleus, DEDAF caused the DEDD protein to relocalize from subnuclear structures to a diffuse distribution in the nucleoplasm. Our data therefore suggest that DEDAF may be involved in the regulation of both cytoplasmic and nuclear events of apoptosis.