Gene Summary

Gene:CHUK; conserved helix-loop-helix ubiquitous kinase
Aliases: IKK1, IKKA, IKBKA, TCF16, NFKBIKA, IKK-alpha
Summary:This gene encodes a member of the serine/threonine protein kinase family. The encoded protein, a component of a cytokine-activated protein complex that is an inhibitor of the essential transcription factor NF-kappa-B complex, phosphorylates sites that trigger the degradation of the inhibitor via the ubiquination pathway, thereby activating the transcription factor. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:inhibitor of nuclear factor kappa-B kinase subunit alpha
Source:NCBIAccessed: 14 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 14 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

Tag cloud generated 14 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CHUK (cancer-related)

Leopizzi M, Cocchiola R, Milanetti E, et al.
IKKα inibition by a glucosamine derivative enhances Maspin expression in osteosarcoma cell line.
Chem Biol Interact. 2017; 262:19-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic inflammation has been associated to cancer development by the alteration of several inflammatory pathways, such as Nuclear Factor-κB pathway. In particular, IκB kinase α (IKKα), one of two catalytic subunit of IKK complex, has been described to be associated to cancer progression and metastasis in a number of cancers. The molecular mechanism by which IKKα affects cancer progression is not yet completely clarified, anyway an association between IKKα and the expression of Maspin (Mammary Serine Protease Inhibitor or SerpinB5), a tumor suppressor protein, has been described. IKKα shuttles between cytoplasm and nucleus, and when is localized into the nuclei, IKKα regulates the expression of several genes, among them Maspin gene, whose expression is repressed by high amount of nuclear IKKα. Considering that high levels of Maspin have been associated with reduced metastatic progression, it could be hypothesized that the repression of IKKα nuclear translocation could be associated with the repression of metastatic phenotype. The present study is aimed to explore the ability of a glucosamine derivative, 2-(N-Carbobenzyloxy)l-phenylalanylamido-2-deoxy-β-d-glucose (NCPA), synthesized in our laboratory, to stimulate the production of Maspin in an osteosarcoma cell line, 143B. Immunofluorescence and Western blotting experiments showed that NCPA is able to inhibit IKKα nuclear translocation, and to stimulate Maspin production. Moreover, in association with stimulation of Maspin production we found the decrease of β1 Integrin expression, the down-regulation of metalloproteases MMP-9 and MMP-13 production and cell migration inhibition. Taking in account that β1 Integrin and MMP-9 and -13 have been correlated with the invasiveness of osteosarcoma, considering that NCPA affects the invasiveness of 143B cell line, we suggest that this molecule could affect the osteosarcoma metastatic ability.

Dewert N, Amschler K, Lorenz V, Schön MP
The IKKα-dependent non-canonical pathway of NF-κB activation is constitutively active and modulates progression-related functions in a subset of human melanomas.
Arch Dermatol Res. 2016; 308(10):733-742 [PubMed] Related Publications
Owing to activation of several resistance-mediating pathways including NF-κB signaling, metastasized melanoma is almost universally resistant against chemotherapy. Given that blocking of NF-κB either by proteasome-, pan-IKK- or selective IKKβ-inhibitors may increase the susceptibility of melanoma cells to chemotherapy, we have assessed the role of the second kinase within the IKK complex, IKKα. While expression of IKKα and overall activation of NF-κB were heterogeneous, the IKKα-specific p100/p52 processing was detected in a small subset of melanomas (1/9 primary and 1/12 metastatic melanomas) as well as in 1/8 melanoma cell lines. Down-modulation of IKKα by siRNA resulted in diminution of doxorubicin-induced NF-κB activation, constitutive and TNFα-stimulated expression of CXCL8 and ICAM-1, and cell migration. In contrast, overexpression of IKKα in melanoma cells did not significantly affect progression-related functions. Thus, IKKα may be a worthwhile target only in selected individualized therapies but not in general melanoma therapy.

Bisht S, Schlesinger M, Rupp A, et al.
A liposomal formulation of the synthetic curcumin analog EF24 (Lipo-EF24) inhibits pancreatic cancer progression: towards future combination therapies.
J Nanobiotechnology. 2016; 14(1):57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal of human malignancies known to date and shows relative insensitivity towards most of the clinically available therapy regimens. 3,5-bis(2-fluorobenzylidene)-4-piperidone (EF24), a novel synthetic curcumin analog, has shown promising in vitro therapeutic efficacy in various human cancer cells, but insufficient water solubility and systemic bioavailability limit its clinical application. Here, we describe nano-encapsulation of EF24 into pegylated liposomes (Lipo-EF24) and evaluation of these particles in preclinical in vitro and in vivo model systems of pancreatic cancer.
RESULTS: Transmission electron microscopy and size distribution studies by dynamic light scattering confirmed intact spherical morphology of the formed liposomes with an average diameter of less than 150 nm. In vitro, treatment with Lipo-EF24 induced growth inhibition and apoptosis in MIAPaCa and Pa03C pancreatic cancer cells as assessed by using cell viability and proliferation assays, replating and soft agar clonogenicity assays as well as western blot analyses. Lipo-EF24 potently suppressed NF-kappaB nuclear translocation by inhibiting phosphorylation and subsequent degradation of its inhibitor I-kappa-B-alpha. In vivo, synergistic tumor growth inhibition was observed in MIAPaCa xenografts when Lipo-EF24 was given in combination with the standard-of-care cytotoxic agent gemcitabine. In line with in vitro observations, western blot analysis revealed decreased phosphorylation of I-kappa-B-alpha in excised Lipo-EF24-treated xenograft tumor tissues.
CONCLUSION: Due to its promising therapeutic efficacy and favorable toxicity profile Lipo-EF24 might be a promising starting point for development of future combinatorial therapeutic regimens against pancreatic cancer.

Yang Y, Kelly P, Shaffer AL, et al.
Targeting Non-proteolytic Protein Ubiquitination for the Treatment of Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma.
Cancer Cell. 2016; 29(4):494-507 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chronic active B cell receptor (BCR) signaling, a hallmark of the activated B cell-like (ABC) subtype of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL), engages the CARD11-MALT1-BCL10 (CBM) adapter complex to activate IκB kinase (IKK) and the classical NF-κB pathway. Here we show that the CBM complex includes the E3 ubiquitin ligases cIAP1 and cIAP2, which are essential mediators of BCR-dependent NF-κB activity in ABC DLBCL. cIAP1/2 attach K63-linked polyubiquitin chains on themselves and on BCL10, resulting in the recruitment of IKK and the linear ubiquitin chain ligase LUBAC, which is essential for IKK activation. SMAC mimetics target cIAP1/2 for destruction, and consequently suppress NF-κB and selectively kill BCR-dependent ABC DLBCL lines, supporting their clinical evaluation in patients with ABC DLBCL.

Eo HJ, Kwon TH, Park GH, et al.
In Vitro Anticancer Activity of Phlorofucofuroeckol A via Upregulation of Activating Transcription Factor 3 against Human Colorectal Cancer Cells.
Mar Drugs. 2016; 14(4) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Phlorofucofuroeckol A (PFF-A), one of the phlorotannins found in brown algae, has been reported to exert anti-cancer property. However, the molecular mechanism for the anti-cancer effect of PFF-A has not been known. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) has been reported to be associated with apoptosis in colorectal cancer. The present study was performed to investigate the molecular mechanism by which PFF-A stimulates ATF3 expression and apoptosis in human colorectal cancer cells. PFF-A decreased cell viability through apoptosis of human colorectal cancer cells. PFF-A increased ATF3 expression through regulating transcriptional activity. The responsible cis-element for ATF3 transcriptional activation by PFF-A was cAMP response element binding protein (CREB), located between positions -147 and -85 of the ATF3 promoter. Inhibition of p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNK), glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3β, and IκB kinase (IKK)-α blocked PFF-A-mediated ATF3 expression. ATF3 knockdown by ATF3 siRNA attenuated the cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) by PFF-A, while ATF3 overexpression increased PFF-A-mediated cleaved PARP. These results suggest that PFF-A may exert anti-cancer property through inducing apoptosis via the ATF3-mediated pathway in human colorectal cancer cells.

Takeda T, Tsubaki M, Kino T, et al.
Mangiferin induces apoptosis in multiple myeloma cell lines by suppressing the activation of nuclear factor kappa B-inducing kinase.
Chem Biol Interact. 2016; 251:26-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mangiferin is a naturally occurring glucosyl xanthone, which induces apoptosis in various cancer cells. However, the molecular mechanism underlying mangiferin-induced apoptosis has not been clarified thus far. Therefore, we examined the molecular mechanism underlying mangiferin-induced apoptosis in multiple myeloma (MM) cell lines. We found that mangiferin decreased the viability of MM cell lines in a concentration-dependent manner. We also observed an increased number of apoptotic cells, caspase-3 activation, and a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential. In addition, mangiferin inhibited the nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and expression of phosphorylated inhibitor kappa B (IκB) and increased the expression of IκB protein, whereas no changes were observed in the phosphorylation levels of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2), c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase 1/2 (JNK1/2), and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). The molecular mechanism responsible for mangiferin-induced inhibition of nuclear translocation of NF-κB was a decrease in the expression of phosphorylated NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK). Moreover, mangiferin decreased the expression of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP), survivin, and Bcl-xL proteins. Knockdown of NIK expression showed results similar to those observed with mangiferin treatment. Our results suggest that mangiferin induces apoptosis through the inhibition of nuclear translocation of NF-κB by suppressing NIK activation in MM cell lines. Our results provide a new insight into the molecular mechanism of mangiferin-induced apoptosis. Importantly, since the number of reported NIK inhibitors is limited, mangiferin, which targets NIK, may be a potential anticancer agent for the treatment of MM.

de Oliveira KA, Kaergel E, Heinig M, et al.
A roadmap of constitutive NF-κB activity in Hodgkin lymphoma: Dominant roles of p50 and p52 revealed by genome-wide analyses.
Genome Med. 2016; 8(1):28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: NF-κB is widely involved in lymphoid malignancies; however, the functional roles and specific transcriptomes of NF-κB dimers with distinct subunit compositions have been unclear.
METHODS: Using combined ChIP-sequencing and microarray analyses, we determined the cistromes and target gene signatures of canonical and non-canonical NF-κB species in Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) cells.
RESULTS: We found that the various NF-κB subunits are recruited to regions with redundant κB motifs in a large number of genes. Yet canonical and non-canonical NF-κB dimers up- and downregulate gene sets that are both distinct and overlapping, and are associated with diverse biological functions. p50 and p52 are formed through NIK-dependent p105 and p100 precursor processing in HL cells and are the predominant DNA binding subunits. Logistic regression analyses of combinations of the p50, p52, RelA, and RelB subunits in binding regions that have been assigned to genes they regulate reveal a cross-contribution of p52 and p50 to canonical and non-canonical transcriptomes. These analyses also indicate that the subunit occupancy pattern of NF-κB binding regions and their distance from the genes they regulate are determinants of gene activation versus repression. The pathway-specific signatures of activated and repressed genes distinguish HL from other NF-κB-associated lymphoid malignancies and inversely correlate with gene expression patterns in normal germinal center B cells, which are presumed to be the precursors of HL cells.
CONCLUSIONS: We provide insights that are relevant for lymphomas with constitutive NF-κB activation and generally for the decoding of the mechanisms of differential gene regulation through canonical and non-canonical NF-κB signaling.

Evaristo C, Spranger S, Barnes SE, et al.
Cutting Edge: Engineering Active IKKβ in T Cells Drives Tumor Rejection.
J Immunol. 2016; 196(7):2933-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Acquired dysfunction of tumor-reactive T cells is one mechanism by which tumors can evade the immune system. Identifying and correcting pathways that contribute to such dysfunction should enable novel anticancer therapy design. During cancer growth, T cells show reduced NF-κB activity, which is required for tumor rejection. Impaired T cell-intrinsic NF-κB may create a vicious cycle conducive to tumor progression and further T cell dysfunction. We hypothesized that forcing T cell-intrinsic NF-κB activation might break this cycle and induce tumor elimination. NF-κB was activated in T cells by inducing the expression of a constitutively active form of the upstream activator IκB kinase β (IKKβ). T cell-restricted constitutively active IKKβ augmented the frequency of functional tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells and improved tumor control. Transfer of constitutively active IKKβ-transduced T cells also boosted endogenous T cell responses that controlled pre-established tumors. Our results demonstrate that driving T cell-intrinsic NF-κB can result in tumor control, thus identifying a pathway with potential clinical applicability.

Xu J, Zhou L, Ji L, et al.
The REGγ-proteasome forms a regulatory circuit with IκBɛ and NFκB in experimental colitis.
Nat Commun. 2016; 7:10761 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Increasing incidence of inflammatory bowel disorders demands a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying its multifactorial aetiology. Here we demonstrate that mice deficient for REGγ, a proteasome activator, show significantly attenuated intestinal inflammation and colitis-associated cancer in dextran sodium sulfate model. Bone marrow transplantation experiments suggest that REGγ's function in non-haematopoietic cells primarily contributes to the phenotype. Elevated expression of REGγ exacerbates local inflammation and promotes a reciprocal regulatory loop with NFκB involving ubiquitin-independent degradation of IκBɛ. Additional deletion of IκBɛ restored colitis phenotypes and inflammatory gene expression in REGγ-deficient mice. In sum, this study identifies REGγ-mediated control of IκBɛ as a molecular mechanism that contributes to NFκB activation and promotes bowel inflammation and associated tumour formation in response to chronic injury.

Friedmann-Morvinski D, Narasimamurthy R, Xia Y, et al.
Targeting NF-κB in glioblastoma: A therapeutic approach.
Sci Adv. 2016; 2(1):e1501292 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common and lethal form of intracranial tumor. We have established a lentivirus-induced mouse model of malignant gliomas, which faithfully captures the pathophysiology and molecular signature of mesenchymal human GBM. RNA-Seq analysis of these tumors revealed high nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activation showing enrichment of known NF-κB target genes. Inhibition of NF-κB by either depletion of IκB kinase 2 (IKK2), expression of a IκBαM super repressor, or using a NEMO (NF-κB essential modifier)-binding domain (NBD) peptide in tumor-derived cell lines attenuated tumor proliferation and prolonged mouse survival. Timp1, one of the NF-κB target genes significantly up-regulated in GBM, was identified to play a role in tumor proliferation and growth. Inhibition of NF-κB activity or silencing of Timp1 resulted in slower tumor growth in both mouse and human GBM models. Our results suggest that inhibition of NF-κB activity or targeting of inducible NF-κB genes is an attractive therapeutic approach for GBM.

Möser CV, Meissner M, Laarmann K, et al.
The protein kinase IKKepsilon contributes to tumour growth and tumour pain in a melanoma model.
Biochem Pharmacol. 2016; 103:64-73 [PubMed] Related Publications
Inhibitor-kappaB kinase epsilon (IKKε) constitutes a non-canonical I-κB kinase, which amongst others modulates NF-κB activity. IKKε and NF-κB have both been described for their role in cell proliferation and their dysregulation has been associated with tumourigenesis and metastasis in multiple cancer types. Accordingly, overexpression and constitutive activation of NF-κB have also been shown in melanoma, however, the role of IKKε in this cancer type has not been investigated so far. Thus, we determined IKKε expression in malignant melanoma cells and we were able to show a significant overexpression of IKKε in tumour cells in comparison to melanocytes. Inhibition of IKKε either by shRNA or the pharmacological inhibitor amlexanox resulted in reduced cell proliferation associated with a cell cycle block in the G1-phase. Functional analysis indicated that NF-κB, Akt1 and MAPK pathways might be involved in the IKKε-mediated effects. In vivo, we applied a mouse melanoma skin cancer model to assess tumour growth and melanoma-associated pain in IKKε knockout mice as well as C57BL/6 mice after inoculation with IKKε-negative cells. In IKKε knockout mice, tumour growth was not altered as compared to IKKε wild type mice. However, melanoma associated pain was strongly suppressed accompanied by a reduced mRNA expression of a number of pain-relevant genes. In contrast, after inoculation of IKKε-depleted tumour cells, the development of melanoma was almost completely prevented. In conclusion, our data suggest that IKKε in the tumour plays an essential role in tumour initiation and progression while IKKε expression in tumour surrounding tissues contributes to melanoma-associated pain.

Assar EA, Vidalle MC, Chopra M, Hafizi S
Lycopene acts through inhibition of IκB kinase to suppress NF-κB signaling in human prostate and breast cancer cells.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(7):9375-85 [PubMed] Related Publications
We studied the effect of the potent dietary antioxidant lycopene on multiple points along the nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathway in prostate and breast cancer cells. Lycopene significantly inhibited prostate and breast cancer cell growth at physiologically relevant concentrations of ≥1.25 μM. Similar concentrations also caused a 30-40 % reduction in inhibitor of kappa B (IκB) phosphorylation in the cells, as determined by western blotting. Furthermore, the same degree of inhibition by lycopene was observed for NF-κB transcriptional activity, as determined by reporter gene assay. Concomitant with this, immunofluorescence staining of lycopene-treated cells showed a significant suppression (≥25 %) of TNF-induced NF-κB p65 subunit nuclear translocation. Further probing of lycopene's effects on upstream elements of the NF-κB pathway showed a 25 % inhibition of both activity of recombinant IκB kinase β (IKKβ) kinase in a cell-free in vitro assay, as well as activity of IKKβ immunoprecipitated from MDA-MB-231 cells treated with lycopene. In conclusion, the anticancer properties of lycopene may occur through inhibition of the NF-κB signaling pathway, beginning at the early stage of cytoplasmic IKK kinase activity, which then leads to reduced NF-κB-responsive gene regulation. Furthermore, these effects in cancer cells were observed at concentrations of lycopene that are relevant and achievable in vivo.

Tao M, Liu L, Shen M, et al.
Inflammatory stimuli promote growth and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells through NF-κB pathway dependent repression of PP2Ac.
Cell Cycle. 2016; 15(3):381-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Previous studies have indicated that inflammatory stimulation represses protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a well-known tumor suppressor. However, whether PP2A repression participates in pancreatic cancer progression has not been verified. We used lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and macrophage-conditioned medium (MCM) to establish in vitro inflammation models, and investigated whether inflammatory stimuli affect pancreatic cancer cell growth and invasion PP2A catalytic subunit (PP2Ac)-dependently. Via nude mouse models of orthotopic tumor xenografts and dibutyltin dichloride (DBTC)-induced chronic pancreatitis, we evaluated the effect of an inflammatory microenvironment on PP2Ac expression in vivo. We cloned the PP2Acα and PP2Acβ isoform promoters to investigate the PP2Ac transcriptional regulation mechanisms. MCM accelerated pancreatic cancer cell growth; MCM and LPS promoted cell invasion. DBTC promoted xenograft growth and metastasis, induced tumor-associated macrophage infiltration, promoted angiogenesis, activated the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway, and repressed PP2Ac expression. In vitro, LPS and MCM downregulated PP2Ac mRNA and protein. PP2Acα overexpression attenuated JNK, ERK, PKC, and IKK phosphorylation, and impaired LPS/MCM-stimulated cell invasion and MCM-promoted cell growth. LPS and MCM activated the NF-κB pathway in vitro. LPS and MCM induced IKK and IκB phosphorylation, leading to p65/RelA nuclear translocation and transcriptional activation. Overexpression of the dominant negative forms of IKKα attenuated LPS and MCM downregulation of PP2Ac, suggesting inflammatory stimuli repress PP2Ac expression NF-κB pathway-dependently. Luciferase reporter gene assay verified that LPS and MCM downregulated PP2Ac transcription through an NF-κB-dependent pathway. Our study presents a new mechanism in inflammation-driven cancer progression through NF-κB pathway-dependent PP2Ac repression.

Zeng W, Li H, Chen Y, et al.
Survivin activates NF‑κB p65 via the IKKβ promoter in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2016; 13(2):1869-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Survivin and transcription factor p65 (NF‑κB p65) participate in the progression of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). However, the mechanism of NF‑κB p65 activation in ESCC remains to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of survivin in the activation of NF‑κB p65 in ESCC. The expression levels of survivin, NF‑κB p65, inhibitor of nuclear factor κB kinase subunit α (IKKα) and inhibitor of nuclear factor κB kinase subunit β (IKKβ) were detected in ESCC tissue samples. Eca109 and KYSE150 cells were cultured and survivin activity was modulated via transfection with an overexpression plasmid, a small hairpin RNA plasmid and a specific inhibitor. Quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and western blotting assays were conducted to assess the effects of survivin on the expression levels of IKKα, IKKβ and NF‑κB p65. Cell cycle and apoptosis assays were conducted to detect surviving-dependent cellular behavior changes. In addition, the luciferase reporter gene assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay were conducted to determine the genomic sites responsible for surviving-induced activation of NF‑κB p65. The present study demonstrated that the expression of survivin is positively correlated with IKKα and IKKβ in ESCC tissues. Survivin affected the mRNA and protein expression levels of IKKα, IKKβ, and NF‑κB p65 in Eca109 and KYSE150 cells. Furthermore, survivin increased the transcriptional activity of the IKKβ promoter and bound to the IKKβ promoter region in the Eca109 cells. Downregulation of survivin arrested the cell cycle at the G2/M phase and induced apoptosis. Results of the present study suggest that survivin activates NF‑κB p65 in Eca109 cells via binding to the IKKβ promoter region and upregulating IKKβ promoter transcriptional activity. Survivin overexpression activates NF‑κB p65, which is important in the acquisition and maintenance of the oncogenic characteristics of ESCC.

Ma J, Mi C, Wang KS, et al.
4',6-Dihydroxy-4-methoxyisoaurone inhibits TNF-α-induced NF-κB activation and expressions of NF-κB-regulated target gene products.
J Pharmacol Sci. 2016; 130(2):43-50 [PubMed] Related Publications
The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) transcription factors control many physiological processes including inflammation, apoptosis, and angiogenesis. In our search for NF-κB inhibitors from natural resources, we identified 4',6-dihydroxy-4-methoxyisoaurone (ISOA) as an inhibitor of NF-κB activation from the seeds of Trichosanthes kirilowii. However, the mechanism by which ISOA inhibits NF-κB activation is not fully understood. In the present study, we demonstrated the effect of ISOA on NF-κB activation in TNF-α-stimulated HeLa cells. This compound suppressed NF-κB activation through the inhibition of IκB kinase (IKK) activation. ISOA also has an influence on upstream signaling of IKK through the inhibition of expression of adaptor proteins, TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and receptor interacting protein 1 (RIP1). Consequently, ISOA blocked the phosphorylation and degradation of the inhibitor of NF-κB alpha (IκBα), and subsequent phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of p65. The suppression of NF-κB activation by ISOA led to the down-regulation of target genes involved in inflammation, proliferation, as well as potentiation of TNF-α-induced apoptosis. Taken together, this study extends our understanding on the mechanisms underlying the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activities of ISOA. Our findings provide new insight into the molecular mechanisms and a potential application of ISOA for inflammatory diseases as well as certain cancers.

Lee da Y, Lee da H, Jung JY, et al.
A synthetic chalcone derivative, 2-hydroxy-3',5,5'-trimethoxychalcone (DK-139), suppresses the TNFα-induced invasive capability of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells by inhibiting NF-κB-mediated GROα expression.
Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2016; 26(1):203-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
2-Hydroxy-3',5,5'-trimenthoxyochalcone (DK-139) is a synthetic chalcone-derived compound. This study evaluated the biological activity of DK-139 on the inhibition of tumor metastasis. Growth-regulated oncogene-alpha (GROα) plays an important role in the progression of tumor development by stimulating angiogenesis and metastasis. In this study, DK-139 inhibited tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)-induced GROα gene promoter activity by inhibiting of IκB kinase (IKK) in MDA-MB231 cells. In addition, DK-139 prevented the TNFα-induced cell migration, F-actin formation, and invasive capability of MDA-MB-231 cells. These findings suggest that DK-139 is a potential drug candidate for the inhibition of tumor cell locomotion and invasion via the suppression of NF-κB-mediated GROα expression.

Xia Y, Weng B, Wang Z, et al.
W346 inhibits cell growth, invasion, induces cycle arrest and potentiates apoptosis in human gastric cancer cells in vitro through the NF-κB signaling pathway.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4791-801 [PubMed] Related Publications
The therapeutic agent selectively killing cancer cells is urgently needed for gastric cancer treatment. Curcumin has been investigated for its effect on the cancer treatment because of its significant therapeutic potential and safety profile. A synthetic unsymmetry mono-carbonyl compound termed W346 was developed from curcumin. In this study, we investigated the potential antineoplastic effect and mechanism of W346 against human gastric cancer cells. W346 suppressed the proliferation and invasion, blocked cell cycle arrest at G2/M phase, and increased apoptosis in gastric cancer cells, and it presented obviously improved anticancer activity than curcumin. Moreover, W346 effectively inhibited tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α)-induced NF-κB activation by suppressing IKK phosphorylation, inhibiting IκB-α degradation, and restraining the accumulation of NF-κB subunit p65 nuclear translocation. W346 also affected NF-κB-regulated downstream products involved in cycle arrest and apoptosis. In a word, W346 exhibited significantly improved anti-gastric cancer activity over curcumin by targeting NF-κB signaling pathway, and it is likely to be a promising starting point for the development of curcumin-based therapeutic agent.

Fan YH, Ye MH, Wu L, et al.
Overexpression of miR-98 inhibits cell invasion in glioma cell lines via downregulation of IKKε.
Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2015; 19(19):3593-604 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function as negative regulators for the expression of genes involved in cancer metastasis. The aim of this study was to investigate the potential role of miR-98 in gliomas and validate its regulatory mechanism.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: Cell viability assays are used to measure proliferation of cell. mRNA expression is measured by qRT-PCR. Western blot analysis is used to measure protein expression.
RESULTS: Functional studies showed that miR-98 overexpression inhibited glioma migration and invasion, but had no effect on the cell viability. An enhanced green fluorescent protein reporter assay, quantitative RT-PCR, and a western blot analysis confirmed that miR-98 suppressed the expression of IκB kinase (IKKε) by directly targeting its 3'-untranslated region, also, the NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-9 expression were significantly arrested in glioma cells treated with miR-98 mimics. Accordingly, the overexpression of IKKε or NF-κB p65 can restore cell migration and invasion after being inhibited by miR-98, and can restore NF-κB p65 nuclear translocation as well as increase MMP-9 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings demonstrated that miR-98 functions as a tumor suppressor in gliomas. Furthermore, miR-98 may act as a potential therapeutic biomarker for glioma patients.

Finkin S, Yuan D, Stein I, et al.
Ectopic lymphoid structures function as microniches for tumor progenitor cells in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Nat Immunol. 2015; 16(12):1235-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Ectopic lymphoid-like structures (ELSs) are often observed in cancer, yet their function is obscure. Although ELSs signify good prognosis in certain malignancies, we found that hepatic ELSs indicated poor prognosis for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We studied an HCC mouse model that displayed abundant ELSs and found that they constituted immunopathological microniches wherein malignant hepatocyte progenitor cells appeared and thrived in a complex cellular and cytokine milieu until gaining self-sufficiency. The egress of progenitor cells and tumor formation were associated with the autocrine production of cytokines previously provided by the niche. ELSs developed via cooperation between the innate immune system and adaptive immune system, an event facilitated by activation of the transcription factor NF-κB and abolished by depletion of T cells. Such aberrant immunological foci might represent new targets for cancer therapy.

Yang J, Yuan D, Li J, et al.
miR-186 downregulates protein phosphatase PPM1B in bladder cancer and mediates G1-S phase transition.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(4):4331-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) is a core regulator in multiple tumorigenic pathways. Its activation is mediated by IκB kinase β (IKKβ). Protein phosphatase PPM1B is reported to dephosphorylate IKKβ, thereby terminating IKKβ-mediated NF-κB activation. However, the role of PPM1B in bladder cancer is unclear. The aim of this study was to determine the expression patterns and molecular mechanisms of PPM1B in bladder cancer. Comparative analyses were conducted in six bladder cancer cell lines, a normal urinary epithelial cell line, and adjacent non-tumorous bladder epithelia. Searches were conducted through publicly available algorithms and The Cancer Genome Atlas. HT-1376 and RT4 cells were transduced to stably overexpress PPM1B and its predicted regulator miR-186. Subsequent in vitro studies included 3-(4,5-dimethyl-2-thiazolyl)-2,5-diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT), colony formation, anchorage-independent growth ability, luciferase reporter assays, and flow cytometric cell cycle analyses. A xenograft model was established in nude mice to evaluate the effect of PPM1B in bladder tumors in vivo. The results revealed that PPM1B was frequently downregulated in bladder cancer cells at both protein and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels, whereas miR-186 was upregulated. Further analyses showed that miR-186 promoted G1-S transition by targeting PPM1B at its 3'-untranslated region (3'UTR). Conversely, ectopic expression of PPM1B significantly suppressed proliferation and tumorigenicity in bladder cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, thereby neutralizing the oncogenic effect of miR-186. This study has identified PPM1B and miR-186 as potential diagnostic markers in bladder cancer. Promotion of PPM1B and suppression of miR-186 may offer effective therapeutic strategies in the treatment of bladder cancer.

Liu C, Zheng L, Wang H, et al.
The RCAN1 inhibits NF-κB and suppresses lymphoma growth in mice.
Cell Death Dis. 2015; 6:e1929 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) has a vital role in cell survival. Inhibition of NF-κB has been proven to be an efficient therapeutic pathway for various cancers. Activation of NF-κB is mainly through serine residues' phosphorylation of inhibitor of κBα (IκBα) by IKK complex. Phosphorylation at tyrosine 42 is an alternative pathway in regulation of IκBα and NF-κB signaling, though little is known about the underlying mechanism. Here we identified regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) as a novel endogenous inhibitor of NF-κB signaling pathway. RCAN1 can interact with IκBα and affect the phosphorylation of IκBα at tyrosine 42. Overexpression of RCAN1 by adenovirus reduced cell viability in lymphoma Raji cells and restrained the growth of lymphoma transplants in mice. We further found that N terminus 1-103aa of RCAN1 is sufficient to inhibit NF-κB and reduce cell viability of lymphoma cells. Our study implicated a novel therapeutic approach for lymphoma by RCAN1 through inhibition of NF-κB signaling.

Mak P, Li J, Samanta S, Mercurio AM
ERβ regulation of NF-kB activation in prostate cancer is mediated by HIF-1.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(37):40247-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
We examined the regulation of NF-κB in prostate cancer by estrogen receptor β (ERβ) based on the inverse correlation between p65 and ERβ expression that exists in prostate carcinomas and reports that ERβ can inhibit NF-κB activation, although the mechanism is not known. We demonstrate that ERβ functions as a gate-keeper for NF-κB p65 signaling by repressing its expression and nuclear translocation. ERβ regulation of NF-κB signaling is mediated by HIF-1. Loss of ERβ or hypoxia stabilizes HIF-1α, which we found to be a direct driver of IKKβ transcription through a hypoxia response element present in the promoter of the IKKβ gene. The increase of IKKβ expression in ERβ-ablated cells correlates with an increase in phospho-IκBα and concomitant p65 nuclear translocation. An inverse correlation between the expression of ERβ and IKKβ/p65 was also observed in the prostates of ERβ knockout (BERKO) mice, Gleason grade 5 prostate tumors and analysis of prostate cancer databases. These findings provide a novel mechanism for how ERβ prevents NF-κB activation and raise the exciting possibility that loss of ERβ expression is linked to chronic inflammation in the prostate, which contributes to the development of high-grade prostate cancer.

Mieczkowski J, Kocyk M, Nauman P, et al.
Down-regulation of IKKβ expression in glioma-infiltrating microglia/macrophages is associated with defective inflammatory/immune gene responses in glioblastoma.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(32):33077-90 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Glioblastoma (GBM) is an aggressive malignancy associated with profound host immunosuppression. Microglia and macrophages infiltrating GBM acquire the pro-tumorigenic, M2 phenotype and support tumor invasion, proliferation, survival, angiogenesis and block immune responses both locally and systematically. Mechanisms responsible for immunological deficits in GBM patients are poorly understood. We analyzed immune/inflammatory gene expression in five datasets of low and high grade gliomas, and performed Gene Ontology and signaling pathway analyses to identify defective transcriptional responses. The expression of many immune/inflammatory response and TLR signaling pathway genes was reduced in high grade gliomas compared to low grade gliomas. In particular, we found the reduced expression of the IKBKB, a gene coding for IKKβ, which phosphorylates IκB proteins and represents a convergence point for most signal transduction pathways leading to NFκB activation. The reduced IKBKB expression and IKKβ levels in GBM tissues were demonstrated by qPCR, Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. The IKKβ expression was down-regulated in microglia/macrophages infiltrating glioblastoma. NFκB activation, prominent in microglia/macrophages infiltrating low grade gliomas, was reduced in microglia/macrophages in glioblastoma tissues. Down-regulation of IKBKB expression and NFκB signaling in microglia/macrophages infiltrating glioblastoma correlates with defective expression of immune/inflammatory genes and M2 polarization that may result in the global impairment of anti-tumor immune responses in glioblastoma.

Barham W, Chen L, Tikhomirov O, et al.
Aberrant activation of NF-κB signaling in mammary epithelium leads to abnormal growth and ductal carcinoma in situ.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:647 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Approximately 1 in 5 women diagnosed with breast cancer are considered to have in situ disease, most often termed ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). Though recognized as a risk factor for the development of more invasive cancer, it remains unclear what factors contribute to DCIS development. It has been shown that inflammation contributes to the progression of a variety of tumor types, and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) is recognized as a master-regulator of inflammatory signaling. However, the contributions of NF-κB signaling to tumor initiation are less well understood. Aberrant up-regulation of NF-κB activity, either systemically or locally within the breast, could occur due to a variety of commonly experienced stimuli such as acute infection, obesity, or psychological stress. In this study, we seek to determine if activation of NF-κB in mammary epithelium could play a role in the formation of hyperplastic ductal lesions.
METHODS: Our studies utilize a doxycycline-inducible transgenic mouse model in which constitutively active IKKβ is expressed specifically in mammary epithelium. All previously published models of NF-κB modulation in the virgin mammary gland have been constitutive models, with transgene or knock-out present throughout the life and development of the animal. For the first time, we will induce activation at later time points after normal ducts have formed, thus being able to determine if NF-κB activation can promote pre-malignant changes in previously normal mammary epithelium.
RESULTS: We found that even a short pulse of NF-κB activation could induce profound remodeling of mammary ductal structures. Short-term activation created hyperproliferative, enlarged ducts with filled lumens. Increased expression of inflammatory markers was concurrent with the down-regulation of hormone receptors and markers of epithelial differentiation. Furthermore, the oncoprotein mucin 1, known to be up-regulated in human and mouse DCIS, was over-expressed and mislocalized in the activated ductal tissue.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that aberrant NF-κB activation within mammary epithelium can lead to molecular and morphological changes consistent with the earliest stages of breast cancer. Thus, inhibition of NF-κB signaling following acute inflammation or the initial signs of hyperplastic ductal growth could represent an important opportunity for breast cancer prevention.

Gao Y, Gartenhaus RB, Lapidus RG, et al.
Differential IKK/NF-κB Activity Is Mediated by TSC2 through mTORC1 in PTEN-Null Prostate Cancer and Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Tumor Cells.
Mol Cancer Res. 2015; 13(12):1602-14 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: The serine/threonine protein kinase Akt plays a critical role in regulating proliferation, growth, and survival through phosphorylation of different downstream substrates. The mTOR is a key target for Akt to promote tumorigenesis. It has been reported that Akt activates mTOR through phosphorylation and inhibition of the tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) protein TSC2. Previously, it was demonstrated that mTOR activates IKK/NF-κB signaling by promoting IκB kinase (IKK) activity downstream of Akt in conditions deficient of PTEN. In this study, the mechanistic role of the tumor-suppressor TSC2 was investigated in the regulation of IKK/NF-κB activity in PTEN-null prostate cancer and in TSC2-mutated tumor cells. The results demonstrate that TSC2 inhibits IKK/NF-κB activity downstream of Akt and upstream of mTORC1 in a PTEN-deficient environment. However, TSC2 promotes IKK/NF-κB activity upstream of Akt and mTORC1 in TSC2 mutated tumor cells. These data indicate that TSC2 negatively or positively regulates IKK/NF-κB activity in a context-dependent manner depending on the genetic background.
IMPLICATIONS: This study provides fundamental insight for understanding the molecular details by which TSC2/mTOR regulates NF-κB signaling in different tumors.

Soutto M, Chen Z, Katsha AM, et al.
Trefoil factor 1 expression suppresses Helicobacter pylori-induced inflammation in gastric carcinogenesis.
Cancer. 2015; 121(24):4348-58 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Infection with Helicobacter pylori, a high-risk factor for gastric cancer, is frequently associated with chronic inflammation through activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB). Trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) is a constitutively expressed protein in the stomach that has tumor-suppressor functions and plays a critical role in maintaining mucosal integrity. This study investigated the role of TFF1 in regulating the proinflammatory response to H. pylori infections.
METHODS: For in vitro studies, immunofluorescence, luciferase reporter assays, Western blots, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction were performed to investigate the activation of NF-κB and its target genes in response to infections with H. pylori strains J166 and 7.13. In addition, Tff1-knockout (KO) and Tff1-wild-type mice were used for infections with the H. pylori strain called premouse Sydney strain 1.
RESULTS: The reconstitution of TFF1 expression in gastric cancer cells significantly suppressed H. pylori-mediated increases in NF-κB-p65 nuclear staining, transcriptional activity, and expression of proinflammatory cytokine genes (tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 5, and interleukin 4 receptor) that were associated with reductions in the expression and phosphorylation of NF-κB-p65 and IκB kinase α/β proteins. The in vivo studies using the Tff1-KO mouse model of gastric neoplasia confirmed the in vitro findings. Furthermore, they demonstrated increases in chronic inflammation scores and in the frequency of invasive gastric adenocarcinoma in the Tff1-KO mice infected with H. pylori versus the uninfected Tff1-KO mice.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings underscore an important protective role of TFF1 in abrogating H. pylori-mediated inflammation, a crucial hallmark of gastric tumorigenesis. Therefore, loss of TFF1 expression could be an important step in H. pylori-mediated gastric carcinogenesis.

Cataldi M, Shah NR, Felt SA, Grdzelishvili VZ
Breaking resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to an attenuated vesicular stomatitis virus through a novel activity of IKK inhibitor TPCA-1.
Virology. 2015; 485:340-54 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) is an effective oncolytic virus against most human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell lines. However, some PDAC cell lines are highly resistant to oncolytic VSV-ΔM51 infection. To better understand the mechanism of resistance, we tested a panel of 16 small molecule inhibitors of different cellular signaling pathways, and identified TPCA-1 (IKK-β inhibitor) and ruxolitinib (JAK1/2 inhibitor), as strong enhancers of VSV-ΔM51 replication and virus-mediated oncolysis in all VSV-resistant PDAC cell lines. Both TPCA-1 and ruxolitinib similarly inhibited STAT1 and STAT2 phosphorylation and decreased expression of antiviral genes MxA and OAS. Moreover, an in situ kinase assay provided biochemical evidence that TPCA-1 directly inhibits JAK1 kinase activity. Together, our data demonstrate that TPCA-1 is a unique dual inhibitor of IKK-β and JAK1 kinase, and provide a new evidence that upregulated type I interferon signaling plays a major role in resistance of pancreatic cancer cells to oncolytic viruses.

Chen L, Liu D, Zhang Y, et al.
The autophagy molecule Beclin 1 maintains persistent activity of NF-κB and Stat3 in HTLV-1-transformed T lymphocytes.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 465(4):739-45 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The retroviral oncoprotein Tax from human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) induces persistent activation of IκB kinase (IKK)/NF-κB signaling, an essential step for initiating HTLV-1 oncogenesis. The regulation of the IKK/NF-κB signaling in HTLV-1-transformed T cells remains incompletely understood. In the present study, we showed that the autophagy molecule Beclin1 not only executed a cytoprotective function through induction of autophagy but also played a pivotal role in maintaining Tax-induced activation of two key survival factors, NF-κB and Stat3. Silencing Beclin1 in HTLV-1-transformed T cells resulted in diminished activities of NF-κB and Stat3 as well as impaired growth. In Beclin1-depleted cells, Tax failed to activate NF-κB and Stat3 at its full capacity. In addition, we showed that Beclin1 interacted with the catalytic subunits of IKK. Further, we observed that selective inhibition of IKK repressed the activities of both NF-κB and Stat3 in the context of HTLV-1-transformation of T cells. Our data, therefore, unveiled a key role of Beclin1 in maintaining persistent activities of both NF-κB and Stat3 in the pathogenesis of HTLV-1-mediated oncogenesis.

Xiao D, Jia J, Shi Y, et al.
Opposed expression of IKKα: loss in keratinizing carcinomas and gain in non-keratinizing carcinomas.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(28):25499-505 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
The functional role of IKKα in vivo is pretty complicated, largely due to its diverse functions through cell autonomous and non-autonomous manners. In addition, most of the studies on IKKα were derived from animal models, whether these findings hold true in human tumors remain unclear. Here we examined the expression of IKKα in nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which includes non-keratinizing carcinoma and keratinizing squamous cell carcinoma, and lung squamous cell carcinoma with keratinization and non-keratinization. We demonstrated that IKKα expression was almost negative in keratinizing cancer and higher expression of IKKα was found in non-keratinizing cancer, and that IKKα expression correlated with cellular differentiation of tumors in non-keratinizing nasopharyngeal carcinoma. These findings demonstrate that IKKα is diversely expressed in keratinizing and non-keratinizing carcinomas in the same type of cancer.

Probst BL, McCauley L, Trevino I, et al.
Cancer Cell Growth Is Differentially Affected by Constitutive Activation of NRF2 by KEAP1 Deletion and Pharmacological Activation of NRF2 by the Synthetic Triterpenoid, RTA 405.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(8):e0135257 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/04/2017 Related Publications
Synthetic triterpenoids are antioxidant inflammation modulators (AIMs) that exhibit broad anticancer activity. AIMs bind to KEAP1 and inhibit its ability to promote NRF2 degradation. As a result, NRF2 increases transcription of genes that restore redox balance and reduce inflammation. AIMs inhibit tumor growth and metastasis by increasing NRF2 activity in the tumor microenvironment and by modulating the activity of oncogenic signaling pathways, including NF-κB, in tumor cells. Accumulating evidence suggests that KEAP1 loss or mutation--which results in high levels of sustained NRF2 activity--may promote cancer growth and increase chemoresistance. Loss of KEAP1 also increases the levels of other oncogenic proteins, including IKKβ and BCL2. The apparent survival advantage provided to some tumor cells by loss of functional KEAP1 raises the question of whether pharmacological inhibition of KEAP1 could promote tumor growth. To address this issue, we characterized the basal levels of KEAP1 and NRF2 in a panel of human tumor cell lines and profiled the activity of an AIM, RTA 405. We found that in tumor cell lines with low or mutant KEAP1, and in Keap1-/- murine embryonic fibroblasts, multiple KEAP1 targets including NRF2, IKKβ, and BCL2 were elevated. Keap1-/- murine embryonic fibroblasts also had higher rates of proliferation and colony formation than their wild-type counterparts. In cells with functional KEAP1, RTA 405 increased NRF2 levels, but not IKKβ or BCL2 levels, and did not increase cell proliferation or survival. Moreover, RTA 405 inhibited growth at similar concentrations in cells with different basal NRF2 activity levels and in cells with wild-type or mutant KRAS. Finally, pre-treatment with RTA 405 did not protect tumor cells from doxorubicin- or cisplatin-mediated growth inhibition. Collectively, these data demonstrate that pharmacological activation of NRF2 by AIMs is distinct from genetic activation and does not provide a growth or survival advantage to tumor cells.

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