Cysteine 230 modulates tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand activity

Dai Wu Seol*, Timothy R. Billiar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Biologically active tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) protein is known to form a homotrimer in solution. Unexpectedly, the recombinant active human TRAIL protein purified from bacteria produced two bands (a Mr 21,000 monomer derived from the disruption of the trimer in SDS gels and a M(r) 42,000 dimer) on nonreducing SDS gels. The treatment of this TRAIL protein with DTT, a reducing agent, abolished formation of the M(r) 42,000 band, suggesting that the M(r) 42,000 band was the result of intermolecular disulfide bridge formation. Inspection of the amino acid sequence of human TRAIL protein identified a unique cysteine residue at position 230, and subsequent site-directed mutagenesis revealed that this amino acid residue is responsible for the appearance of the M(r) 42,000 dimer. The binding analysis using the TRAIL protein and a TRAIL receptor (death receptor 5) revealed that both the dimer and the trimer bind to death receptor 5 with similar affinity. Interestingly, mutation of cysteine 230 to glycine completely abolished the apoptotic activity of TRAIL protein. The disruption of the dimer in the mixture of TRAIL dimer and trimer increased the apoptotic activity slightly, suggesting that the dimer has less apoptotic activity than the trimer. Therefore, our data indicate that cysteine 230 is not only required for TRAIL function but also modulates the apoptotic activity of TRAIL by forming an intermolecular disulfide bridge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3152-3154
Number of pages3
JournalCancer Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2000
Externally publishedYes


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