Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) regulates NF-κB during infection by a variety of mechanisms. For example, the HCMV gene product, UL144, is known to activate NF-κB in a tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 6 (TRAF6)-dependent manner, causing the upregulation of the chemokine CCL22 (MDC). Viral UL144 is expressed from the UL/b′ region of the HCMV genome at early times postinfection and is a TNFR1-like homologue. Despite this homology to the TNFR1 receptor superfamily, UL144 does not bind to members of the TNF ligand superfamily. We show here that the upregulation of NF-κB by UL144 is dependent upon cellular tripartite motif 23 (TRIM23) protein. We propose a mechanism by which UL144 activates NF-κB through a direct interaction with the cellular protein TRIM23 in a complex containing TRAF6. In contrast, TRIM23 is not involved in conventional double-stranded RNA signaling via NF-κB. Therefore, we present a novel role for TRIM23 that is specific to UL144-mediated activation of NF-κB during the course of virus infection
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