Members of the tumor necrosis factor TNF family induce pleiotropic biological responses, including cell growth, differentiation, and even death. Although transcripts of APRIL are of low abundance in normal tissues, high levels of mRNA are detected in transformed cell lines, and in human cancers of colon, thyroid, and lymphoid tissues in vivo. Members of the TNF cytokine family are critically involved in the regulation of infections, inflammation, autoimmune diseases, and tissue homeostasis 1. These ligands can act in a membrane-bound form or as proteolytically processed, soluble cytokines in an autocrine, paracrine, or endocrine manner 1. Thus, TNF-related ligands can lead to either apoptosis, differentiation, or proliferation 1. The ligand members are type II membrane molecules. Intrinsic to oligomerization is the formation of the receptor binding site at the junction between neighboring subunits, creating a multivalent ligand.
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