Latent infection membrane protein 1 (LMP1), the Epstein-Barr virus transforming protein, associates with tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) associated factor 1 (TRAF1) and TRAF3. Since TRAF2 has been implicated in TNFR-mediated NF-kappa B activation, we have evaluated the role of TRAF2 in LMP1-mediated NF-kappa B activation. TRAF2 binds in vitro to the LMP1 carboxyl-terminal cytoplasmic domain (CT), coprecipitates with LMP1 in B lymphoblasts, and relocalizes to LMP1 plasma membrane patches. A dominant negative TRAF2 deletion mutant that lacks amino acids 6-86 (TRAF/ delta 6-86) inhibits NF-kappa B activation from the LMP1 CT and competes with TRAF2 for LMP1 binding. TRAF2 delta 6-86 inhibits NF-kappa B activation mediated by the first 45 amino acids of the LMP1 CT by more than 75% but inhibits NF-kappa B activation through the last 55 amino acids of the CT by less than 40%. A TRAF interacting protein, TANK, inhibits NF-kappa B activation by more than 70% from both LMP1 CT domains. These data implicate TRAF2 aggregation in NF-kappa B activation by the first 45 amino acids of the LMP1 CT and suggest that a different TRAF-related pathway may be involved in NF-kappa B activation by the last 55 amino acids of the LMP1 CT.