The paracaspase MALT1 has arginine-directed proteolytic activity triggered by engagement of immune receptors. Recruitment of MALT1 into activation complexes is required for MALT1 proteolytic function. Here, co-expression of MALT1 in HEK293 cells, either with activated CARD11 and BCL10 or with TRAF6, was used to explore the mechanism of MALT1 activation at the molecular level. This work identified a prominent self-cleavage site of MALT1 isoform A (MALT1A) at R781 (R770 in MALT1B) and revealed that TRAF6 can activate MALT1 independently of the CBM. Intramolecular cleavage at R781/R770 removes a C-terminal TRAF6-binding site in both MALT1 isoforms, leaving MALT1B devoid of the two key interaction sites with TRAF6. A previously identified auto-proteolysis site of MALT1 at R149 leads to deletion of the death-domain, thereby abolishing interaction with BCL10. By using MALT1 isoforms and cleaved fragments thereof, as well as TRAF6 WT and mutant forms, this work shows that TRAF6 induces N-terminal auto-proteolytic cleavage of MALT1 at R149 and accelerates MALT1 protein turnover. The MALT1 fragment generated by N-terminal self-cleavage at R149 was labile and displayed enhanced signaling properties that required an intact K644 residue, previously shown to be a site for mono- ubiquitination of MALT1. Conversely, C-terminal self-cleavage at R781/R770 hampered the ability for self-cleavage at R149 and stabilized MALT1 by hindering interaction with TRAF6. C-terminal self-cleavage had limited impact on MALT1A but severely reduced MALT1B proteolytic and signaling functions. It also abrogated NF-κB activation by N-terminally cleaved MALT1A. Altogether, this study provides further insights into mechanisms that regulate the scaffolding and activation cycle of MALT1. It also emphasizes the reduced functional capacity of MALT1B as compared to MALT1A.