Abstract

Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and lymphotoxin-alpha (LT-alpha) are members of a family of secreted and cell surface cytokines that participate in the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses. The cell surface form of LT-alpha is assembled during biosynthesis as a heteromeric complex with lymphotoxin-beta (LT-beta), a type II transmembrane protein that is another member of the TNF ligand family. Secreted LT-alpha is a homotrimer that binds to distinct TNF receptors of 60 and 80 kilodaltons; however, these receptors do not recognize the major cell surface LT-alpha-LT-beta complex. A receptor specific for human LT-beta was identified, which suggests that cell surface LT may have functions that are distinct from those of secreted LT-alpha.