IRAK2

Gene Summary

Gene:IRAK2; interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 2
Aliases: IRAK-2
Location:3p25.3
Summary:IRAK2 encodes the interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 2, one of two putative serine/threonine kinases that become associated with the interleukin-1 receptor (IL1R) upon stimulation. IRAK2 is reported to participate in the IL1-induced upregulation of NF-kappaB. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-like 2
HPRD
Source:NCBIAccessed: 25 June, 2015

Ontology:

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 (1990-2015)
Graph generated 25 June 2015 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 25 June, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

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: IRAK2 (cancer-related)

Jurado-Camino T, Córdoba R, Esteban-Burgos L, et al.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia: a paradigm of innate immune cross-tolerance.
J Immunol. 2015; 194(2):719-27 [PubMed] Related Publications
Infections are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). The pathogenesis of infections is multifactorial and includes hypogammaglobulinemia, conventional therapy with alkylating drugs, and recently, purine analogs and mAb-associated T cells. Patients without these risk factors also suffer from infections, although the mechanism remains unknown. In a cohort of 70 patients with CLL, we demonstrated that their monocytes were locked into a refractory state and were unable to mount a classic inflammatory response to pathogens. In addition, they exhibited the primary features of endotoxin tolerance, including low cytokine production, high phagocytic activity, and impaired Ag presentation. The involvement of miR-146a in this phenomenon was suspected. We found miR-146a target genes, such as IRAK1 and TRAF6, were manifestly downregulated. Our study provides a new explanation for infections in patients with CLL and describes a cross-tolerance between endotoxins and tumors.

Su B, Luo T, Zhu J, et al.
Interleukin-1β/Iinterleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 inflammatory signaling contributes to persistent Gankyrin activation during hepatocarcinogenesis.
Hepatology. 2015; 61(2):585-97 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a prototype of inflammation-associated cancer. Oncoprotein Gankyrin, which mostly increases in HCC, plays a critical role in HCC development and metastasis. However, the exact mechanism of Gankyrin up-regulation in HCC remains unclear. A Gankyrin luciferase reporter was developed to screen a potential regulator for Gankyrin from a list of proinflammatory cytokines, and interleukin (IL)-1β was found as one of its activators. In clinical premalignant and malignant liver disease samples, enhanced IL-1β/interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK-1) signaling accompanied by increased Gankyrin was observed. Lower expression of Gankyrin and phospho-IRAK-1 are favorable prognostic markers for HCC. A similar correlation was observed in the diethylnitrosamine (DEN) model of rat hepatocarcinogenesis. The results from Gankyrin reporter activity, real-time polymerase chain reaction, or immunoblotting further confirmed the up-regulation of Gankyrin by IL-1β/IRAK-1 inflammatory signaling. Moreover, a series of Gankyrin's truncated reporters were constructed, and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) were performed to analyze the properties of Gankyrin promoter. Mechanistically, the core promoter of Gankyrin contains the binding site of nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) family members, which can recruit histone acetyltransferase coactivator E1A-binding protein p300 (p300) or CREB-binding protein (CBP) to promote Gankyrin transcription. Conversely, knockdown of NF-Y, p300, or CBP inhibits Gankyrin expression. IL-1β stimulation causes sequential phosphorylation of IRAK-1, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and p300 and enhances recruitment of the p300/CBP/NF-Y complex to Gankyrin promoter. Inhibition of phospho-JNK impairs IL-1β/IRAK-1 signaling-mediated up-regulation of Gankyrin.
CONCLUSION: The finding of IL-1β/IRAK-1 signaling promoting Gankyrin expression through JNK and NF-Y/p300/CBP complex provides a fresh view on inflammation-enhanced hepatocarcinogenesis.

Rhyasen GW, Starczynowski DT
IRAK signalling in cancer.
Br J Cancer. 2015; 112(2):232-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Innate immune signalling has an essential role in inflammation, and the dysregulation of signalling components of this pathway is increasingly being recognised as an important mediator in cancer initiation and progression. In some malignancies, dysregulation of inflammatory toll-like receptor (TLR) and interleukin-1 receptor (IL1R) signalling is typified by increased NF-κB activity, and it occurs through somatic mutations, chromosomal deletions, and/or transcriptional deregulation. Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK) family members are mediators of TLR/IL1R superfamily signalling, and mounting evidence implicates these kinases as viable cancer targets. Although there have been previous efforts aimed at the development of IRAK kinase inhibitors, this is currently an area of renewed interest for cancer drug development.

Seol HS, Akiyama Y, Shimada S, et al.
Epigenetic silencing of microRNA-373 to epithelial-mesenchymal transition in non-small cell lung cancer through IRAK2 and LAMP1 axes.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 353(2):232-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in carcinogenesis as tumor suppressors or oncogenes has been widely reported. Epigenetic change is one of the mechanisms of transcriptional silencing of miRNAs in cancer. To identify lung cancer-related miRNAs that are mediated by histone modification, we conducted microarray analysis in the Calu-6 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell line after treatment with suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor. The expression level of miR-373 was enhanced by SAHA treatment in this cell line by microarray and the following quantitative RT-PCR analyses. Treatment with another HDAC inhibitor, Trichostatin A, restored the levels of miR-373 expression in A549 and Calu-6 cells, while demethylation drug treatment did not. Importantly, miR-373 was found to be down-regulated in NSCLC tissues and cell lines. Transfection of miR-373 into A549 and Calu-6 cells attenuated cell proliferation, migration, and invasion and reduced the expression of mesenchymal markers. Additional microarray analysis of miR-373-transfected cells and computational predictions identified IRAK2 and LAMP1 as targets of miR-373. Knockdown of these two genes showed similar biological effects to those of miR-373 overexpression. In clinical samples, overexpression of IRAK2 correlated with decreased disease-free survival of patients with non-adenocarcinoma. In conclusion, we found that miR-373 is silenced by histone modification in lung cancer cells and identified its function as a tumor suppressor and negative regulator of the mesenchymal phenotype through downstream IRAK2 and LAMP1 target genes.

Martínez-Trillos A, Pinyol M, Navarro A, et al.
Mutations in TLR/MYD88 pathway identify a subset of young chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with favorable outcome.
Blood. 2014; 123(24):3790-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Mutations in Toll-like receptor (TLR) and myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MYD88) genes have been found in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) at low frequency. We analyzed the incidence, clinicobiological characteristics, and outcome of patients with TLR/MYD88 mutations in 587 CLL patients. Twenty-three patients (3.9%) had mutations, 19 in MYD88 (one with concurrent IRAK1 mutation), 2 TLR2 (one with concomitant TLR6 mutation), 1 IRAK1, and 1 TLR5. No mutations were found in IRAK2 and IRAK4. TLR/MYD88-mutated CLL overexpressed genes of the nuclear factor κB pathway. Patients with TLR/MYD88 mutations were significantly younger (83% age ≤50 years) than those with no mutations. TLR/MYD88 mutations were the most frequent in young patients. Patients with mutated TLR/MYD88 CLL had a higher frequency of mutated IGHV and low expression of CD38 and ZAP-70. Overall survival (OS) was better in TLR/MYD88-mutated than unmutated patients in the whole series (10-year OS, 100% vs 62%; P = .002), and in the subset of patients age ≤50 years (100% vs 70%; P = .02). In addition, relative OS of TLR/MYD88-mutated patients was similar to that in the age- and gender-matched population. In summary, TLR/MYD88 mutations identify a population of young CLL patients with favorable outcome.

Fulciniti M, Amodio N, Bandi RL, et al.
MYD88-independent growth and survival effects of Sp1 transactivation in Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia.
Blood. 2014; 123(17):2673-81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Sp1 transcription factor controls a pleiotropic group of genes and its aberrant activation has been reported in a number of malignancies, including multiple myeloma. In this study, we investigate and report its aberrant activation in Waldenström macroglobulinemia (WM). Both loss of and gain of Sp1 function studies have highlighted a potential oncogenic role of Sp1 in WM. We have further investigated the effect of a small molecule inhibitor, terameprocol (TMP), targeting Sp1 activity in WM. Treatment with TMP inhibited the growth and survival and impaired nuclear factor-κB and signal transducer and activator of transcription activity in WM cells. We next investigated and observed that TMP treatment induced further inhibition of WM cells in MYD88 knockdown WM cells. Moreover, we observed that Bruton's tyrosine kinase, a downstream target of MYD88 signaling pathway, is transcriptionally regulated by Sp1 in WM cells. The combined use of TMP with Bruton's tyrosine kinase or interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 1 and 4 inhibitors resulted in a significant and synergistic dose-dependent antiproliferative effect in MYD88-L265P-expressing WM cells. In summary, these results demonstrate Sp1 as an important transcription factor that regulates proliferation and survival of WM cells independent of MYD88 pathway activation, and provide preclinical rationale for clinical development of TMP in WM alone or in combination with inhibitors of MYD88 pathway.

Schwertheim S, Worm K, Schmid KW, Sheu-Grabellus SY
Valproic acid downregulates NF-κB p50 activity and IRAK-1 in a progressive thyroid carcinoma cell line.
Horm Metab Res. 2014; 46(3):181-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACI) valproic acid (VPA) is a promising drug, currently in clinical phase 2, for the therapy of advanced/poorly differentiated thyroid cancer. The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway is constitutively activated in most tumors, including thyroid carcinomas; this often contributes to aggressive tumor growth and therapeutic resistance. We hypothesized that VPA could be useful to decrease NF-κB activity in human thyroid cancer cells. To clarify this, we treated the highly progressive thyroid cancer cell line BHT-101 with VPA (1.0-3.0 mM) for 48 h. Real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Western blot were used to measure expression of NF-κB-regulatory genes and proteins. NF-κB p50 activity was measured using an ELISA-based colorimetric transcription factor assay kit. We found that VPA significantly and dose-dependently impaired NF-κB activity reducing DNA binding activity of NF-κB p50 subunit by 30% at 1 mM, 40% at 1.5 mM, and 70% at 3 mM. Expression of interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-1 (IRAK-1) protein, an upstream mediator of NF-κB activation, was reduced by ̴30% at 1 and 1.5 mM. Furthermore, 3 mM VPA treatment significantly decreased expressions of IRAK-1, phospho-IκBα and NF-κB p50 subunit protein by ̴ 50%. This is the first study to demonstrate that VPA decreases NF-κB activity in a progressive thyroid cancer cell line. Intriguingly, 1mM of VPA, a clinically safe dose in the therapeutic range for epilepsy, was sufficient to reduce NF-κB activity. Thus, VPA may be a promising agent to overcome chemoresistance in cancer therapy and to improve therapeutic efficiency.

Hung PS, Liu CJ, Chou CS, et al.
miR-146a enhances the oncogenicity of oral carcinoma by concomitant targeting of the IRAK1, TRAF6 and NUMB genes.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(11):e79926 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs are short non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression and are crucial to tumorigenesis. Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a prevalent malignancy worldwide. Up-regulation of miR-146 has been identified in OSCC tissues. However, the roles of miR-146 in carcinogenesis are controversial as it is suppressive in many other malignancies. The present study investigated the pathogenic implications of miR-146a in oral carcinogenesis. Microdissected OSCC exhibits higher levels of miR-146a expression than matched adjacent mucosal cells. The plasma miR-146a levels of patients are significantly higher than those of control subjects; these levels decrease drastically after tumor resection. miR-146a levels in tumors and in patients' plasma can be used to classify OSCC and non-disease status (sensitivity: >0.72). Exogenous miR-146a expression is significantly increased in vitro oncogenic phenotypes as well as during xenograft tumorigenesis and OSCC metastasis. The plasma miR-146a levels of these mice parallel the xenograft tumor burdens of the mice. A miR-146a blocker abrogates the growth of xenograft tumors. miR-146a oncogenic activity is associated with down-regulation of IRAK1, TRAF6 and NUMB expression. Furthermore, miR-146a directly targets the 3'UTR of NUMB and a region within the NUMB coding sequence when suppressing NUMB expression. Exogenous NUMB expression attenuates OSCC oncogenicity. Double knockdown of IRAK1 and TRAF6, and of TRAF6 and NUMB, enhance the oncogenic phenotypes of OSCC cells. Oncogenic enhancement modulated by miR-146a expression is attenuated by exogenous IRAK1 or NUMB expression. This study shows that miR-146a expression contributes to oral carcinogenesis by targeting the IRAK1, TRAF6 and NUMB genes.

Jamieson S, Fuller PJ
Characterization of the inhibitor of kappaB kinase (IKK) complex in granulosa cell tumors of the ovary and granulosa cell tumor-derived cell lines.
Horm Cancer. 2013; 4(5):277-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
Granulosa cell tumors of the ovary (GCT) are a distinct, hormonally active subset of ovarian cancers. Although it has recently been shown that ∼97 % of all adult GCT harbor a novel somatic missense mutation in the FOXL2 gene, given its almost universal presence, it does not explain differences in tumor stage and/or recurrence. The nuclear factor kappaB (NFκB) transcription factor is constitutively active in two human GCT-derived cell lines, COV434 and KGN, which are useful in vitro models to investigate juvenile and adult GCT, respectively. This study aimed to determine the molecular basis and pathogenetic significance of this aberrant NFκB activity. Selective chemical inhibitors were used to target candidate components of the pathway. The constitutive activity was blocked by two independent inhibitors of IκBα phosphorylation, suggesting that aberrant activation occurs upstream of this point. NFκB inhibition resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in cell proliferation and viability and a dose-dependent increase in apoptosis. Inhibitors of earlier components of the pathway were without effect. Two independent inhibitors of inhibitor of kappaB kinase (IKK)β, a catalytic subunit of the NFκB activation complex, were unable to inhibit the constitutive activity, but surprisingly also ligand-induced activity. These findings suggest a central role for IKKβ; however, no mutations or altered expression of the IKKβ, IKKα, or IKKγ genes was observed in the cell lines or in a panel of human GCT samples. This study highlights unresolved issues in understanding the pathogenesis of GCT and in the use of the COV434 and KGN cells lines as model systems.

Rogers EN, Jones DZ, Kidd NC, et al.
Toll-like receptor-associated sequence variants and prostate cancer risk among men of African descent.
Genes Immun. 2013; 14(6):347-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Recent advances demonstrate a relationship between chronic/recurrent inflammation and prostate cancer (PCA). Among inflammatory regulators, toll-like receptors (TLRs) have a critical role in innate immune responses. However, it remains unclear whether variant TLR genes influence PCA risk among men of African descent. Therefore, we evaluated the impact of 32 TLR-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on PCA risk among African Americans and Jamaicans. SNP profiles of 814 subjects were evaluated using Illumina's Veracode genotyping platform. Single and combined effects of SNPs in relation to PCA risk were assessed using age-adjusted logistic regression and entropy-based multifactor dimensionality reduction (MDR) models. Seven sequence variants detected in TLR6, TOLLIP (Toll-interacting protein), IRAK4 (interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase 4) and IRF3 (interferon regulatory factor 3) were marginally related to PCA. However, none of these effects remained significant after adjusting for multiple hypothesis testing. Nevertheless, MDR modeling revealed a complex interaction between IRAK4 rs4251545 and TLR2 rs1898830 as a significant predictor of PCA risk among US men (permutation testing P-value=0.001). However, these findings require further assessment and validation.

Kumar DM, Patil V, Ramachandran B, et al.
Temozolomide-modulated glioma proteome: role of interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4 (IRAK4) in chemosensitivity.
Proteomics. 2013; 13(14):2113-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
The current treatment for glioblastoma includes temozolomide (TMZ) chemotherapy, yet the mechanism of action of TMZ is not thoroughly understood. Here, we investigated the TMZ-induced changes in the proteome of the glioma-derived cell line (U251) by 2D DIGE. We found 95 protein spots to be significantly altered in their expression after TMZ treatment. MS identified four upregulated spots: aspartyl tRNA synthetase glutathione synthetase, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4 (IRAK4), and breast carcinoma amplified sequence-1 and one downregulated spot: optineurin. TMZ-induced regulation of these five genes was validated by RT-qPCR and Western blot analysis. RNAi-mediated knockdown of IRAK4, an important mediator of Toll-like receptors signaling and chemoresistance, rendered the glioma cells resistant to TMZ. High levels of IRAK4 induced upon TMZ treatment resulted in IRAK1 downregulation and inhibition of NFkB pathway. Endogenous IRAK4 protein, but not transcript levels in glioma cell lines, correlated with TMZ sensitivity. Thus, we have identified several TMZ-modulated proteins and discovered an important novel role for IRAK4 in determining TMZ sensitivity of glioma cells through its ability to inhibit Toll-like receptor signaling and NFkB pathway.

Pan J, Zhang J, Hill A, et al.
A kinome-wide siRNA screen identifies multiple roles for protein kinases in hypoxic stress adaptation, including roles for IRAK4 and GAK in protection against apoptosis in VHL-/- renal carcinoma cells, despite activation of the NF-κB pathway.
J Biomol Screen. 2013; 18(7):782-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Hypoxia induces changes to cancer cells that make them more resistant to treatment. We have looked at signaling pathways that facilitate these changes by screening the human kinome for effects on hypoxic responses in SW480 colon cancer cells. Hits identified in the screen were examined for effects on multiple molecular responses to hypoxia, including the endoplasmic reticulum stress and DNA damage responses in colon, melanoma, and renal cancer lines. To validate the hits from the small interfering RNA studies, we developed cell lines expressing stable short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) in the A498 renal carcinoma cell line. Several lines, including those expressing shRNAs against DYRK1B, GAK, IHPK2, IRAK4, and MATK, showed an inability to form spheroid cultures. In addition, shRNAs targeting IRAK4 and GAK were incapable of 2D growth under anoxia. In the GAK shRNA-expressing line, nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) was localized to the nucleus, but in the IRAK4 shRNA line, NF-κB levels were increased but the extent of nuclear localization was unchanged. Dominant negative mutants of IRAK4 and GAK also showed strong apoptotic effects in A498 cells under anoxia, supporting a direct link between these kinases and survival of the VHL(-/-) RCC line, which is typically highly resistant to hypoxic stress as a result of high and constitutive levels of Hif-1α.

Kumar G, Breen EJ, Ranganathan S
Identification of ovarian cancer associated genes using an integrated approach in a Boolean framework.
BMC Syst Biol. 2013; 7:12 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Cancer is a complex disease where molecular mechanism remains elusive. A systems approach is needed to integrate diverse biological information for the prognosis and therapy risk assessment using mechanistic approach to understand gene interactions in pathways and networks and functional attributes to unravel the biological behaviour of tumors.
RESULTS: We weighted the functional attributes based on various functional properties observed between cancerous and non-cancerous genes reported from literature. This weighing schema was then encoded in a Boolean logic framework to rank differentially expressed genes. We have identified 17 genes to be differentially expressed from a total of 11,173 genes, where ten genes are reported to be down-regulated via epigenetic inactivation and seven genes are up-regulated. Here, we report that the overexpressed genes IRAK1, CHEK1 and BUB1 may play an important role in ovarian cancer. We also show that these 17 genes can be used to form an ovarian cancer signature, to distinguish normal from ovarian cancer subjects and that the set of three genes, CHEK1, AR, and LYN, can be used to classify good and poor prognostic tumors.
CONCLUSION: We provided a workflow using a Boolean logic schema for the identification of differentially expressed genes by integrating diverse biological information. This integrated approach resulted in the identification of genes as potential biomarkers in ovarian cancer.

Eiró N, González L, González LO, et al.
Relationship between the inflammatory molecular profile of breast carcinomas and distant metastasis development.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(11):e49047 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Inflammatory conditions may promote tumor progression and aggressiveness. In previous reports, we found a group of breast cancer tumors characterized by metalloprotease-11 (MMP-11) expression by intratumoral mononuclear inflammatory cells (MICs), which was associated with distant metastasis development. Thus, in the present study we evaluated the relationship between MMP-11 expression by MICs, distant metastasis development, and a wide panel of inflammatory factors in breast carcinoma. In an initial approach, we analyzed 65 factors associated with tumor progression and inflammation, in a tumor population classified in good or bad prognosis, based on MMP-11 expression by intratumoral MICs. The most differentially expressed factors were then analyzed in a wider tumor population classified according to MMP-11 expression by MICs and also according to metastasis development. These analyses were carried out by Real-time PCR. The results showed that of the 65 starting factors analyzed, those related with MMP-11 expression by MICs were: IL-1, -5, -6, -8, -17, -18, MMP-1, TIMP-1, ADAM-8, -10, -15, -23, ADAMTS-1, -2, -15, Annexin A2, IFNβ, Claudin-3, CCL-3, MyD88, IRAK-4 and NFκB. Of them, factors more differentially expressed between both groups of tumors were IL-1, IL-5, IL-6, IL-17, IFNβ and NFκB. Thereafter, we confirmed in the wider tumor population, that there is a higher expression of those factors in tumors infiltrated by MMP-11 positive MICs. Altogether these results indicate that tumors developing worse prognosis and identified by MMP-11 expression by intratumoral MICs, shows an up-regulation of inflammatory-related genes.

Srivastava R, Geng D, Liu Y, et al.
Augmentation of therapeutic responses in melanoma by inhibition of IRAK-1,-4.
Cancer Res. 2012; 72(23):6209-16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Toll-like receptors (TLR) are expressed by a variety of cancers, including melanoma, but their functional contributions in cancer cells are uncertain. To approach this question, we evaluated the effects of stimulating or inhibiting the TLR/IL-1 receptor-associated kinases IRAK-1 and IRAK-4 in melanoma cells where their functions are largely unexplored. TLRs and TLR-related proteins were variably expressed in melanoma cell lines, with 42% expressing activated phospho-IRAK-1 constitutively and 85% expressing high levels of phospho-IRAK-4 in the absence of TLR stimulation. Immunohistochemical evaluation of melanoma tumor biopsies (n = 242) revealed two distinct patient populations, one that expressed p-IRAK-4 levels similar to normal skin (55%) and one with significantly higher levels than normal skin (45%). Levels of p-IRAK-4 levels did not correlate with clinical stage, gender, or age, but attenuated IRAK-1,-4 signaling with pharmacologic inhibitors or siRNA-enhanced cell death in vitro in combination with vinblastine. Moreover, in a xenograft mouse model of melanoma, the combined pharmacologic treatment delayed tumor growth and prolonged survival compared with subjects receiving single agent therapy. We propose p-IRAK-4 as a novel inflammation and prosurvival marker in melanoma with the potential to serve as a therapeutic target to enhance chemotherapeutic responses.

Iyer A, Zurolo E, Prabowo A, et al.
MicroRNA-146a: a key regulator of astrocyte-mediated inflammatory response.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(9):e44789 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Increasing evidence supports the involvement of microRNAs (miRNA) in the regulation of inflammation in human neurological disorders. In the present study we investigated the role of miR-146a, a key regulator of the innate immune response, in the modulation of astrocyte-mediated inflammation. Using Taqman PCR and in situ hybridization, we studied the expression of miR-146a in epilepsy-associated glioneuronal lesions which are characterized by prominent activation of the innate immune response. In addition, cultured human astrocytes were used to study the regulation of miR-146a expression in response to proinflammatory cytokines. qPCR and western blot were used to evaluate the effects of overexpression or knockdown of miR-146a on IL-1β signaling. Downstream signaling in the IL-1β pathway, as well as the expression of IL-6 and COX-2 were evaluated by western blot and ELISA. Release several cytokines was evaluated using a human magnetic multiplex cytokine assay on a Luminex® 100™/200™ platform. Increased expression of miR-146a was observed in glioneuronal lesions by Taqman PCR. MiR-146a expression in human glial cell cultures was strongly induced by IL-1β and blocked by IL-1β receptor antagonist. Modulation of miR-146a expression by transfection of astrocytes with anti-miR146a or mimic, regulated the mRNA expression levels of downstream targets of miR-146a (IRAK-1, IRAK-2 and TRAF-6) and the expression of IRAK-1 protein. In addition, the expression of IL-6 and COX-2 upon IL-1β stimulation was suppressed by increased levels of miR-146a and increased by the reduction of miR-146a. Modulation of miR-146a expression affected also the release of several cytokines such as IL-6 and TNF-α. Our observations indicate that in response to inflammatory cues, miR-146a was induced as a negative-feedback regulator of the astrocyte-mediated inflammatory response. This supports an important role of miR-146a in human neurological disorders associated with chronic inflammation and suggests that this miR may represent a novel target for therapeutic strategies.

Zhou H, Chen D, Xie H, et al.
Activation of MAPKs in the anti-β2GPI/β2GPI-induced tissue factor expression through TLR4/IRAKs pathway in THP-1 cells.
Thromb Res. 2012; 130(4):e229-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Our previous study has demonstrated that the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling pathways contribute to the induction of tissue factor (TF) expression by anti-β(2)-glycoprotein I/β(2)-glycoprotein I (anti-β(2)GPI/β(2)GPI) in human acute monocytic leukemia cell line THP-1. In this study, we focused on the identification of the downstream targets of the TLR4 pathways. When THP-1 cells were treated with anti-β(2)GPI/β(2)GPI complex, enhanced TF expression was observed, along with induced phosphorylation of p38, ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 MAPKs. When the activity of MAPKs was blocked by their corresponding inhibitors (SB203580: p38; U0126: ERK; SP600125: JNK), the expression of TF was reduced significantly. Furthermore, the anti-β(2)GPI/β(2)GPI-induced phosphorylation of p38, ERK1/2 and JNK1/2 was inhibited significantly by TAK-242, a blocker of the signaling transduction mediated by the intracellular domain of TLR4; sc-204013, a specific inhibitor of IRAKs, was also able to partially inhibit the phosphorylation of the MAPKs. Our results demonstrated that MAPKs (p38, ERK1/2 and JNK1/2) were the crucial downstream targets of the anti-β(2)GPI/β(2)GPI-triggered TLR4 signaling pathways in THP-1 cells. This essential role of MAPKs may also promote better understanding of the pathogenesis of antiphospholipid syndrome (APS).

Boldin MP, Taganov KD, Rao DS, et al.
miR-146a is a significant brake on autoimmunity, myeloproliferation, and cancer in mice.
J Exp Med. 2011; 208(6):1189-201 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Excessive or inappropriate activation of the immune system can be deleterious to the organism, warranting multiple molecular mechanisms to control and properly terminate immune responses. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), ∼22-nt-long noncoding RNAs, have recently emerged as key posttranscriptional regulators, controlling diverse biological processes, including responses to non-self. In this study, we examine the biological role of miR-146a using genetically engineered mice and show that targeted deletion of this gene, whose expression is strongly up-regulated after immune cell maturation and/or activation, results in several immune defects. Collectively, our findings suggest that miR-146a plays a key role as a molecular brake on inflammation, myeloid cell proliferation, and oncogenic transformation.

Standiford TJ, Kuick R, Bhan U, et al.
TGF-β-induced IRAK-M expression in tumor-associated macrophages regulates lung tumor growth.
Oncogene. 2011; 30(21):2475-84 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) constitute a major component of the immune cell infiltrate observed in the tumor microenvironment (TME). Factors present in the TME, including tumor growth factor-β (TGF-β), allow tumors to circumvent host-mediated immune responses to promote tumor progression. However, the molecular mechanism(s) involved are not clear. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important mediators of innate immune responses by immune cells, whose activation triggers the production of molecules required for anti-tumoral responses. Interleukin (IL) receptor-associated kinase (IRAK)-M is an inactive serine/threonine kinase, predominantly expressed in macrophages and is a potent negative regulator of TLR signaling. In this study, we show that TAMs express significantly higher levels of IRAK-M compared with peritoneal macrophages in a syngeneic mouse model of lung cancer. Subcutaneous implantation of Lewis lung carcinoma cells in IRAK-M(-/-) mice resulted in a five-fold reduction in tumor growth as compared with tumors in wild-type (WT) animals. Furthermore, compared with WT TAMs, TAMs isolated from IRAK-M(-/-) mice displayed features of a classically activated (M1) rather than alternatively activated (M2) phenotype, as manifest by greater expression of IL-12, interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and inducible nitric oxide synthase. Human lung cancer cells induced IRAK-M expression in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) when co-cultured together. Tumor cell-induced expression of IRAK-M was dependent on the activation of TGF-β pathway. Similarly, treatment of human PBMCs or mouse macrophage cell line, RAW 264.4, with TGF-β, induced IRAK-M expression. Interestingly, IRAK-M gene expression in 439 human lung adenocarcinoma tumors correlated with poor survival in patients with lung cancer. Together, our data demonstrates that TGF-β-dependent induction of IRAK-M expression is an important, clinically relevant mechanism by which tumors may circumvent anti-tumor responses of macrophages.

Ngo VN, Young RM, Schmitz R, et al.
Oncogenically active MYD88 mutations in human lymphoma.
Nature. 2011; 470(7332):115-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The activated B-cell-like (ABC) subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) remains the least curable form of this malignancy despite recent advances in therapy. Constitutive nuclear factor (NF)-κB and JAK kinase signalling promotes malignant cell survival in these lymphomas, but the genetic basis for this signalling is incompletely understood. Here we describe the dependence of ABC DLBCLs on MYD88, an adaptor protein that mediates toll and interleukin (IL)-1 receptor signalling, and the discovery of highly recurrent oncogenic mutations affecting MYD88 in ABC DLBCL tumours. RNA interference screening revealed that MYD88 and the associated kinases IRAK1 and IRAK4 are essential for ABC DLBCL survival. High-throughput RNA resequencing uncovered MYD88 mutations in ABC DLBCL lines. Notably, 29% of ABC DLBCL tumours harboured the same amino acid substitution, L265P, in the MYD88 Toll/IL-1 receptor (TIR) domain at an evolutionarily invariant residue in its hydrophobic core. This mutation was rare or absent in other DLBCL subtypes and Burkitt's lymphoma, but was observed in 9% of mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphomas. At a lower frequency, additional mutations were observed in the MYD88 TIR domain, occurring in both the ABC and germinal centre B-cell-like (GCB) DLBCL subtypes. Survival of ABC DLBCL cells bearing the L265P mutation was sustained by the mutant but not the wild-type MYD88 isoform, demonstrating that L265P is a gain-of-function driver mutation. The L265P mutant promoted cell survival by spontaneously assembling a protein complex containing IRAK1 and IRAK4, leading to IRAK4 kinase activity, IRAK1 phosphorylation, NF-κB signalling, JAK kinase activation of STAT3, and secretion of IL-6, IL-10 and interferon-β. Hence, the MYD88 signalling pathway is integral to the pathogenesis of ABC DLBCL, supporting the development of inhibitors of IRAK4 kinase and other components of this pathway for the treatment of tumours bearing oncogenic MYD88 mutations.

Mueck T, Berger F, Buechsler I, et al.
TRAF6 regulates proliferation and differentiation of skeletal myoblasts.
Differentiation. 2011; 81(2):99-106 [PubMed] Related Publications
We could recently demonstrate an important role of receptor interacting protein-2 (RIP2), an activator of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and a target of activated receptors of the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR) type, in myogenic differentiation and regeneration. Here, we analyze a potential role of TNFR associated factor 6 (TRAF6), which also associates with the cytoplasmic domain of TNFR type, but also IL-1-R and TLR type receptors, and activates NF-κB, in these processes. Specifically, we show that during myogenic differentiation in vitro, traf6 gene expression is downregulated in normal myoblasts, but not in rhabdomyosarcoma cells, suggesting a role of the TRAF6 protein in this process. Inhibition of traf6 expression using specific siRNAs led to an inhibition of both myoblast proliferation and differentiation, whereas inhibition of the TRAF6 effector NF-κB alone in our system only blocked proliferation. Finally, we demonstrate that the traf6 gene is downregulated in skeletal muscle tissue of the dystrophic mdx mouse. Taken together, these data argue for a role of TRAF6 in the regulation of skeletal muscle differentiation and regeneration.

Zhu J, Mohan C
Toll-like receptor signaling pathways--therapeutic opportunities.
Mediators Inflamm. 2010; 2010:781235 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are transmembrane proteins acting mainly as sensors of microbial components. Triggering TLRs results in increased expression of multiple inflammatory genes, which then play a protective role against infection. However, aberrant activation of TLR signaling has a significant impact on the onset of cancer, allergy, sepsis and autoimmunity. Various adaptor proteins, including MyD88, IRAKs, TIRAP, TRIF, and TRAM, are involved in specific TLR signaling pathways. This article reviews the role of these molecules in TLR signaling, and discusses the impact of this pathway on various disease scenarios. Given their important role in infectious and non-infectious disease settings, TLRs and their signaling pathways emerge as attractive targets for therapeutics.

Xiang WQ, Feng WF, Ke W, et al.
Hepatitis B virus X protein stimulates IL-6 expression in hepatocytes via a MyD88-dependent pathway.
J Hepatol. 2011; 54(1):26-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein (HBx) has been implicated in HBV-associated carcinogenesis by activating signal transduction pathways and influencing gene transcription in liver cells. We aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms for HBx-induced production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), one of the major inflammatory mediators that stimulate hepatocellular carcinoma development.
METHODS: HBx was overexpressed in hepatic and hepatoma cell lines and IL-6 expression levels were measured by quantitative RT-PCR and ELISA. The activation of IRAK-1, ERKs/p38, and NF-κB was determined by Western blotting using specific anti-phosphoprotein antibodies. The role of MyD88 in these processes was analyzed by MyD88 RNAi and expression of an inactive MyD88 mutant.
RESULTS: Expression of HBx in hepatic and hepatoma cells led to a dramatic enhancement of IL-6 synthesis and secretion. Dysfunction of MyD88 in these cells prevented the HBx-triggered IL-6 production. HBx expression also activated downstream signaling proteins of MyD88 including IRAK-1, ERKs/p38, and NF-κB. Inactivation of these signaling molecules blocked IL-6 synthesis as well. HBx-stimulated the expression of MyD88.
CONCLUSIONS: In hepatocytes and hepatoma cells, HBx stimulates the production of IL-6 in a MyD88-dependent manner, indicating that parenchymal liver cells are an additional source of high levels of IL-6 in the HBV-infected liver microenvironment. HBx could be involved in HBV-mediated liver carcinogenesis, through this mechanism of action.

Mullenders J, Fabius AW, van Dongen MM, et al.
Interleukin-1R-associated kinase 2 is a novel modulator of the transforming growth factor beta signaling cascade.
Mol Cancer Res. 2010; 8(4):592-603 [PubMed] Related Publications
The transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) pathway orchestrates an extensive transcriptional program that is important for many processes in the cell. For example, TGFbeta regulates cell cycle, migration, and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. The TGFbeta pathway has a dual role in cancer: it is involved in early-stage tumor suppression but also contributes to tumor progression by promoting invasion. To identify the novel genes involved in TGFbeta pathway signaling, we have performed a functional genetic loss-of-function screen. We screened a small interfering RNA library targeting 700 kinases and kinase-related genes in a TGFbeta-responsive reporter assay. Several genes were identified that upon knockdown could repress the reporter signal; among these are the two cellular receptors for TGFbeta. In addition to these two known components of the TGFbeta pathway, several genes were identified that were previously not linked to the TGFbeta signaling. Knockdown of one of these genes, the IRAK2 kinase, resulted not only in an impaired TGFbeta target gene response but also in a reduction of the nuclear accumulation and phosphorylation of SMAD2. In addition, suppression of interleukin-1R-associated kinase 2 expression led to a partial override of a TGFbeta-induced cell cycle arrest. Our data show that interleukin-1R-associated kinase 2 is a novel and critical component of TGFbeta signaling.

Starska K, Forma E, Lewy-Trenda I, et al.
The expression of SOCS1 and TLR4-NFkappaB pathway molecules in neoplastic cells as potential biomarker for the aggressive tumor phenotype in laryngeal carcinoma.
Folia Histochem Cytobiol. 2009; 47(3):401-10 [PubMed] Related Publications
Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) is the key regulator of cytokine-mediated innate and adaptive immunity. One of the molecular mechanisms of SOCS1 is connected with inhibition of TLR4-NFkappaB pathway. The relationships among these molecules in laryngeal carcinoma are not exactly known. In this preliminary study we focused on their special activity and role in regulation of development and progression of laryngeal carcinoma. To investigate NFkappaB (p65 subunit) nuclear and cytoplasmic expression in 45 tumor samples of advanced laryngeal carcinoma IHC staining was performed. To determine the mRNA expression levels of TLR4, IRAK1, TRAF6 and SOCS1 in isolated neoplasm cells and non-cancerous adjacent mucosa epithelial cells RT-PCR was used. The invasiveness of laryngeal carcinomas was evaluated according to tumor front grading, TFG, which included tumor-related features (cytoplasmic differentiation, nuclear polymorphism, number of mitoses) and adjacent stroma-related characteristics of the peripheral edge of tumor infiltration (mode of infiltration, depth of invasion and plasmalymphocytic infiltration). The relationships between pT, pN status, the histological G grade, certain clinicopathological characteristics as well as postoperative observation time and the mRNA expression of the molecules mentioned earlier were investigated. Significant differences of TLR4-NFkappaB pathway molecules and SOCS1 mRNA expression in laryngeal tumor cells and normal adjacent mucosa cells as well as significant interconnections of TLR4, SOCS1 and NFkappaB(p65) in isolated tumor cells were obtained. This preliminary study demonstrated that the expression of SOCS1 and TLR4-NFkappaB pathway molecules had a strong association with the aggressiveness of laryngeal carcinoma. Positive relationships of TRAF6 in tumor margin cells with the histological grade and the mode of tumor invasion as well as the TFG total score were highlighted. Significant positive correlations were found between the TLR4 in tumor central cells and the TFG total score. Negative relationships of SOCS1 in tumor central cells with the histological grade were also noted. Significant positive correlations were found between the cytoplasmic NFkappaB(p65) and the mode of invasion as well as TFG total score. Our findings confirmed the importance of SOCS1 and TLR4-NFkappaB pathway molecules as potential biomarkers for assessment of the aggressive tumor phenotype in laryngeal carcinoma.

Li Y, Vandenboom TG, Wang Z, et al.
miR-146a suppresses invasion of pancreatic cancer cells.
Cancer Res. 2010; 70(4):1486-95 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aggressive course of pancreatic cancer is believed to reflect its unusually invasive and metastatic nature, which is associated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression and NF-kappaB activation. MicroRNAs (miRNA) have been implicated in the regulation of various pathobiological processes in cancer, including metastasis in pancreatic cancer and in other human malignancies. In this study, we report lower expression of miR-146a in pancreatic cancer cells compared with normal human pancreatic duct epithelial cells. Reexpression of miR-146a inhibited the invasive capacity of pancreatic cancer cells with concomitant downregulation of EGFR and the NF-kappaB regulatory kinase interleukin 1 receptor-associated kinase 1 (IRAK-1). Cellular mechanism studies revealed crosstalk between EGFR, IRAK-1, IkappaBalpha, NF-kappaB, and MTA-2, a transcription factor that regulates metastasis. Treatment of pancreatic cancer cells with the natural products 3,3'-diinodolylmethane (DIM) or isoflavone, which increased miR-146a expression, caused a downregulation of EGFR, MTA-2, IRAK-1, and NF-kappaB, resulting in an inhibition of pancreatic cancer cell invasion. Our findings reveal DIM and isoflavone as nontoxic activators of a miRNA that can block pancreatic cancer cell invasion and metastasis, offering starting points to design novel anticancer agents.

Tang H, Park S, Sun SC, et al.
RKIP inhibits NF-kappaB in cancer cells by regulating upstream signaling components of the IkappaB kinase complex.
FEBS Lett. 2010; 584(4):662-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
RKIP was first identified as an inhibitor of the Raf-MEK-ERK signaling pathway. RKIP was also found to play an important role in the NF-kappaB pathway. Genetic and biochemical studies demonstrated that RKIP functioned as a scaffold protein facilitating the phosphorylation of IkappaB by upstream kinases. However, contrary to what one would expect of a scaffold protein, our results show that RKIP has an overall inhibitory effect on the NF-kappaB transcriptional activities. Since NF-kappaB target gene expression is subject to negative regulation involving the optimal induction of negative regulators, our data support a hypothesis that RKIP inhibits NF-kappaB activity via the auto-regulatory feedback loop by rapidly inducing the expression and synthesis of inhibitors of NF-kappaB activation.

Srinivasan B, Johnson TE, Lad R, Xing C
Structure-activity relationship studies of chalcone leading to 3-hydroxy-4,3',4',5'-tetramethoxychalcone and its analogues as potent nuclear factor kappaB inhibitors and their anticancer activities.
J Med Chem. 2009; 52(22):7228-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
Chalcone is a privileged structure, demonstrating promising anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities. One potential mechanism is to suppress nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) activation. The structures of chalcone-based NF-kappaB inhibitors vary significantly that there is minimum information about their structure-activity relationships (SAR). This study aims to establish SAR of chalcone-based compounds to NF-kappaB inhibition, to explore the feasibility of developing simple chalcone-based potent NF-kappaB inhibitors, and to evaluate their anticancer activities. Three series of chalcones were synthesized in one to three steps with the key step being aldol condensation. These candidates demonstrated a wide range of NF-kappaB inhibitory activities, some of low micromolar potency, establishing that structural complexity is not required for NF-kappaB inhibition. Lead compounds also demonstrate potent cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells. Their cytotoxicities correlate moderately well with their NF-kappaB inhibitory activities, suggesting that suppressing NF-kappaB activation is likely responsible for at least some of the cytotoxicities. One lead compound effectively inhibits lung tumor growth with no signs of adverse side effects.

Reuter S, Charlet J, Juncker T, et al.
Effect of curcumin on nuclear factor kappaB signaling pathways in human chronic myelogenous K562 leukemia cells.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2009; 1171:436-47 [PubMed] Related Publications
Curcumin, a natural product isolated from the plant Curcuma longa, has a diverse range of molecular targets that influence numerous biochemical and molecular cascades. Curcumin has been shown to inhibit nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation at several steps in the NF-kappaB signaling pathways and thereby controls numerous NF-kappaB-regulated genes involved in various diseases. In the present study, we investigated the effect of curcumin pretreatment on 84 tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-activated genes of NF-kappaB pathways in K562 cells, using a real-time PCR array. Our results show that transcription of 29 NF-kappaB-related mRNAs was significantly downregulated (CARD4, CCL2, CD40, CSF2, F2R, ICAM1, IKBKB, IKBKE, IL1A, IL1B, IL6, IL8, IRAK2, MALT1, MAP3K1, MYD88, NFKB1, NFKB2, NFKBIA, PPM1A, RAF1, RELB, STAT1, TLR3, TNF, TNFalphaIP3, TNFSF10, and TICAM1), whereas 10 mRNAs were induced (AGT, CASP1, CSF3, FOS, IFNG, IL10, TICAM2, TLR2, TLR9, and TNFRSF7). Western blot analysis of CD40, NFKB1 (p50), RELB, NFKBIA (IkappaBalpha), and IL10 as well as an IL8 secretion assay confirmed our results. Taken together, we show that curcumin regulates an impressive number of NF-kappaB genes within the different NF-kappaB signaling pathways.

Shaw AY, Henderson MC, Flynn G, et al.
Characterization of novel diaryl oxazole-based compounds as potential agents to treat pancreatic cancer.
J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2009; 331(2):636-47 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A series of diaryl- and fluorenone-based analogs of the lead compound UA-62784 [4-(5-(4-methoxyphenyl)oxazol-2-yl)-9H-fluoren-9-one] was synthesized with the intention of improving upon the selective cytotoxicity of UA-62784 against human pancreatic cancer cell lines with a deletion of the tumor suppressor gene deleted in pancreas cancer locus 4 (DPC-4, SMAD-4). Over 80 analogs were synthesized and tested for antitumor activity against pancreatic cancer (PC) cell lines (the PC series). Despite a structural relationship to UA-62784, which inhibits the mitotic kinesin centromere protein E (CENP-E), none of the analogs was selective for DPC-4-deleted pancreatic cancer cell lines. Furthermore, none of the analogs was a potent or selective inhibitor of four different mitotic kinesins (mitotic kinesin-5, CENP-E, mitotic kinesin-like protein-1, and mitotic centromere-associated kinesin). Therefore, other potential mechanisms of action were evaluated. A diaryl oxazole lead analog from this series, PC-046 [5-(4-methoxyphenyl)-2-(3-(3-methoxyphenyl)pyridin-4-yl) oxazole], was shown to potently inhibit several protein kinases that are overexpressed in human pancreatic cancers, including tyrosine receptor kinase B, interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase-4, and proto-oncogene Pim-1. Cells exposed to PC-046 exhibit a cell cycle block in the S-phase followed by apoptotic death and necrosis. PC-046 effectively reduced MiaPaca-2 tumor growth in severe combined immunodeficiency mice by 80% compared with untreated controls. The plasma half-life was 7.5 h, and cytotoxic drug concentrations of >3 muM were achieved in vivo in mice. The diaryl oxazole series of compounds represent a new chemical class of anticancer agents that inhibit several types of cancer-relevant protein kinases.

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