Trends Mol Med 2011 Sep 2;17(9):494-505. Epub 2011 Jul 2.
Protein Sciences, Catalyst Biosciences, 260 Littlefield Avenue, South San Francisco, CA 94080, USA.
The tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and TNF receptor (TNFR) superfamilies comprise multidomain proteins with diverse roles in cell activation, proliferation and cell death. These proteins play pivotal roles in the initiation, maintenance and termination of immune responses and have vital roles outside the immune system. The discovery and analysis of diseases associated with mutations in these families has revealed crucial mechanistic details of their normal functions. This review focuses on mutations causing four different diseases, which represent distinct pathological mechanisms that can exist within these superfamilies: autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS; FAS mutations), common variable immunodeficiency (CVID; TACI mutations), tumor necrosis factor receptor associated periodic syndrome (TRAPS; TNFR1 mutations) and hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED; EDA1/EDAR mutations). In particular, we highlight how mutations have revealed information about normal receptor-ligand function and how such studies might direct new therapeutic approaches.