Background Hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia (HED) is a rare condition characterized by hypotrichosis, hypohidrosis and hypodontia. A de novo heterozygous mutation in the tumour necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 gene (TRAF6) was recently identified in a patient with HED, while functional consequences resulting from the mutation remained unknown.
Objectives To determine the mechanism by which the TRAF6 mutation results in HED.
Methods We performed coimmunoprecipitation (co-IP) studies to determine whether the mutation would affect the interaction of TRAF6 with transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1), TAK1-binding protein 2 (TAB 2) and ectodysplasin-A receptor-associated death domain protein (EDARADD). We then performed co-IP and glutathione S-transferase-pulldown assays to determine the TRAF6 binding sequences in EDARADD. In addition, we analysed the effect of the mutant TRAF6 protein on the affinity between wild-type TRAF6 and EDARADD, as well as on EDARADD-mediated nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation.
Results The mutant TRAF6 protein was capable of forming a complex with TAK1 and TAB 2 in a similar way to wild-type TRAF6. However, the mutant TRAF6 protein completely lost the affinity to EDARADD, while the wild-type TRAF6 bound to the N-terminal domain of EDARADD. Furthermore, the mutant TRAF6 inhibited the interaction between the wild-type TRAF6 and EDARADD, and also potentially reduced the EDARADD-mediated NF-κB activity.
Conclusions We conclude that the mutant TRAF6 protein shows a dominant negative effect against the wild-type TRAF6 protein, which is predicted to affect the EDARADD-mediated activation of NF-κB during the development of ectoderm-derived organs, and to lead to the HED phenotype.