Gene Summary

Gene:TBK1; TANK binding kinase 1
Aliases: NAK, T2K, IIAE8, FTDALS4
Summary:The NF-kappa-B (NFKB) complex of proteins is inhibited by I-kappa-B (IKB) proteins, which inactivate NFKB by trapping it in the cytoplasm. Phosphorylation of serine residues on the IKB proteins by IKB kinases marks them for destruction via the ubiquitination pathway, thereby allowing activation and nuclear translocation of the NFKB complex. The protein encoded by this gene is similar to IKB kinases and can mediate NFKB activation in response to certain growth factors. [provided by RefSeq, Oct 2010]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:serine/threonine-protein kinase TBK1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (31)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 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.

  • Membrane Proteins
  • Cell Survival
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mutation
  • Interleukin-6
  • Cell Proliferation
  • ras Proteins
  • DNA Damage
  • Breast Cancer
  • NF-kappa B
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Lung Cancer
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Base Sequence
  • bcl-X Protein
  • Apoptosis
  • Molecular Targeted Therapy
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cervical Cancer
  • siRNA
  • RNA Interference
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-3
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • ral GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Signal Transduction
  • DNA
  • Chemokine CCL5
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)
  • Chromosome 12
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Drug Resistance
  • MicroRNAs
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • X-linked Nuclear Protein
  • p53 Protein
  • I-kappa B Kinase
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 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: TBK1 (cancer-related)

Cañadas I, Thummalapalli R, Kim JW, et al.
Tumor innate immunity primed by specific interferon-stimulated endogenous retroviruses.
Nat Med. 2018; 24(8):1143-1150 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mesenchymal tumor subpopulations secrete pro-tumorigenic cytokines and promote treatment resistance

Dhanwani R, Takahashi M, Sharma S
Cytosolic sensing of immuno-stimulatory DNA, the enemy within.
Curr Opin Immunol. 2018; 50:82-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In the cytoplasm, DNA is sensed as a universal danger signal by the innate immune system. Cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS) is a cytosolic DNA sensor/enzyme that catalyzes formation of 2'-5'-cGAMP, an atypical cyclic di-nucleotide second messenger that binds and activates the Stimulator of Interferon Genes (STING), resulting in recruitment of Tank Binding Kinase 1 (TBK1), activation of the transcription factor Interferon Regulatory Factor 3 (IRF3), and trans-activation of innate immune response genes, including type I Interferon cytokines (IFN-I). Activation of the pro-inflammatory cGAS-STING-IRF3 response is triggered by direct recognition of the DNA genomes of bacteria and viruses, but also during RNA virus infection, neoplastic transformation, tumor immunotherapy and systemic auto-inflammatory diseases. In these circumstances, the source of immuno-stimulatory DNA has often represented a fundamental yet poorly understood aspect of the response. This review focuses on recent findings related to cGAS activation by an array of self-derived DNA substrates, including endogenous retroviral elements, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and micronuclei generated as a result of genotoxic stress and DNA damage. These findings emphasize the role of the cGAS axis as a cell-intrinsic innate immune response to a wide variety of genomic insults.

Cooper JM, Ou YH, McMillan EA, et al.
TBK1 Provides Context-Selective Support of the Activated AKT/mTOR Pathway in Lung Cancer.
Cancer Res. 2017; 77(18):5077-5094 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Emerging observations link dysregulation of TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) to developmental disorders, inflammatory disease, and cancer. Biochemical mechanisms accounting for direct participation of TBK1 in host defense signaling have been well described. However, the molecular underpinnings of the selective participation of TBK1 in a myriad of additional cell biological systems in normal and pathophysiologic contexts remain poorly understood. To elucidate the context-selective role of TBK1 in cancer cell survival, we employed a combination of broad-scale chemogenomic and interactome discovery strategies to generate data-driven mechanism-of-action hypotheses. This approach uncovered evidence that TBK1 supports AKT/mTORC1 pathway activation and function through direct modulation of multiple pathway components acting both upstream and downstream of the mTOR kinase itself. Furthermore, we identified distinct molecular features in which mesenchymal, Ras-mutant lung cancer is acutely dependent on TBK1-mediated support of AKT/mTORC1 pathway activation for survival.

Ma Z, Hopcraft SE, Yang F, et al.
NLRX1 negatively modulates type I IFN to facilitate KSHV reactivation from latency.
PLoS Pathog. 2017; 13(5):e1006350 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is a herpesvirus that is linked to Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), primary effusion lymphoma (PEL) and multicentric Castleman's disease (MCD). KSHV establishes persistent latent infection in the human host. KSHV undergoes periods of spontaneous reactivation where it can enter the lytic replication phase of its lifecycle. During KSHV reactivation, host innate immune responses are activated to restrict viral replication. Here, we report that NLRX1, a negative regulator of the type I interferon response, is important for optimal KSHV reactivation from latency. Depletion of NLRX1 in either iSLK.219 or BCBL-1 cells significantly suppressed global viral transcription levels compared to the control group. Concomitantly, fewer viral particles were present in either cells or supernatant from NLRX1 depleted cells. Further analysis revealed that upon NLRX1 depletion, higher IFNβ transcription levels were observed, which was also associated with a transcriptional upregulation of JAK/STAT pathway related genes in both cell lines. To investigate whether IFNβ contributes to NLRX1's role in KSHV reactivation, we treated control and NLRX1 depleted cells with a TBK1 inhibitor (BX795) or TBK1 siRNA to block IFNβ production. Upon BX795 or TBK1 siRNA treatment, NLRX1 depletion exhibited less inhibitory effects on reactivation and infectious virion production, suggesting that NLRX1 facilitates KSHV lytic replication by negatively regulating IFNβ responses. Our data suggests that NLRX1 plays a positive role in KSHV lytic replication by suppressing the IFNβ response during the process of KSHV reactivation, which might serve as a potential target for restricting KSHV replication and transmission.

Pomeroy EJ, Lee LA, Lee RDW, et al.
Ras oncogene-independent activation of RALB signaling is a targetable mechanism of escape from NRAS(V12) oncogene addiction in acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncogene. 2017; 36(23):3263-3273 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Somatic mutations that lead to constitutive activation of NRAS and KRAS proto-oncogenes are among the most common in human cancer and frequently occur in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). An inducible NRAS(V12)-driven AML mouse model has established a critical role for continued NRAS(V12) expression in leukemia maintenance. In this model genetic suppression of NRAS(V12) expression results in rapid leukemia remission, but some mice undergo spontaneous relapse with NRAS(V12)-independent (NRI) AMLs providing an opportunity to identify mechanisms that bypass the requirement for Ras oncogene activity and drive leukemia relapse. We found that relapsed NRI AMLs are devoid of NRAS(V12) expression and signaling through the major oncogenic Ras effector pathways, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase and mitogen-activated protein kinase, but express higher levels of an alternate Ras effector, Ralb, and exhibit NRI phosphorylation of the RALB effector TBK1, implicating RALB signaling in AML relapse. Functional studies confirmed that inhibiting CDK5-mediated RALB activation with a clinically relevant experimental drug, dinaciclib, led to potent RALB-dependent antileukemic effects in human AML cell lines, induced apoptosis in patient-derived AML samples in vitro and led to a 2-log reduction in the leukemic burden in patient-derived xenograft mice. Furthermore, dinaciclib potently suppressed the clonogenic potential of relapsed NRI AMLs in vitro and prevented the development of relapsed AML in vivo. Our findings demonstrate that Ras oncogene-independent activation of RALB signaling is a therapeutically targetable mechanism of escape from NRAS oncogene addiction in AML.

Yang CA, Huang HY, Chang YS, et al.
DNA-Sensing and Nuclease Gene Expressions as Markers for Colorectal Cancer Progression.
Oncology. 2017; 92(2):115-124 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Oncogene-driven stress-related DNA damage has been observed in lesions of colon cancer. Furthermore, DNA sensors and nucleases are stimulated during active DNA damage and replication. However, their changes and influences with respect to cancer remain largely unknown.
METHODS: The gene expression levels of cGAS, IFI16, STING, TBK1, IFNB1, TREX1, SAMHD1, RNASEH2A, RNASEH2B, and RNASEH2C were examined in the paired colorectal cancer and adjacent normal part tissues of 53 patients. Their associations with the clinical stages of cancer were then analyzed.
RESULTS: All cytosolic DNA-sensing and nuclease-related genes except cGAS, RNASEH2A, and RNASEH2B showed lower mRNA expressions in the colorectal tumor tissues. Moreover, cGAS upregulation was found to be associated with early-stage colorectal cancers, while higher expressions of RNASEH2B, RNASEH2C, and SAMHD1 correlated with metastasis. RNASEH2C knockdown in a colon cancer cell line impaired cell migration, and analysis of the cancer RNA-seq data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database revealed a negative correlation between RNASEH2C expression and E-cadherin levels.
CONCLUSIONS: In contrast to DNA-sensing events in viral infections or autoimmunity, cGAS-STING-IFNB signaling is disrupted in colorectal cancer. The expression levels of cGAS, RNASEH2B, RNASEH2C, and SAMHD1 could be prognostic markers of colorectal cancer.

Parkes EE, Walker SM, Taggart LE, et al.
Activation of STING-Dependent Innate Immune Signaling By S-Phase-Specific DNA Damage in Breast Cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2017; 109(1) [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Background: Previously we identified a DNA damage response-deficient (DDRD) molecular subtype within breast cancer. A 44-gene assay identifying this subtype was validated as predicting benefit from DNA-damaging chemotherapy. This subtype was defined by interferon signaling. In this study, we address the mechanism of this immune response and its possible clinical significance.
Methods: We used immunohistochemistry (IHC) to characterize immune infiltration in 184 breast cancer samples, of which 65 were within the DDRD subtype. Isogenic cell lines, which represent DDRD-positive and -negative, were used to study the effects of chemokine release on peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) migration and the mechanism of immune signaling activation. Finally, we studied the association between the DDRD subtype and expression of the immune-checkpoint protein PD-L1 as detected by IHC. All statistical tests were two-sided.
Results: We found that DDRD breast tumors were associated with CD4+ and CD8+ lymphocytic infiltration (Fisher's exact test P < .001) and that DDRD cells expressed the chemokines CXCL10 and CCL5 3.5- to 11.9-fold more than DNA damage response-proficient cells (P < .01). Conditioned medium from DDRD cells statistically significantly attracted PBMCs when compared with medium from DNA damage response-proficient cells (P < .05), and this was dependent on CXCL10 and CCL5. DDRD cells demonstrated increased cytosolic DNA and constitutive activation of the viral response cGAS/STING/TBK1/IRF3 pathway. Importantly, this pathway was activated in a cell cycle-specific manner. Finally, we demonstrated that S-phase DNA damage activated expression of PD-L1 in a STING-dependent manner.
Conclusions: We propose a novel mechanism of immune infiltration in DDRD tumors, independent of neoantigen production. Activation of this pathway and associated PD-L1 expression may explain the paradoxical lack of T-cell-mediated cytotoxicity observed in DDRD tumors. We provide a rationale for exploration of DDRD in the stratification of patients for immune checkpoint-based therapies.

Kiessling MK, Schuierer S, Stertz S, et al.
Identification of oncogenic driver mutations by genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 dropout screening.
BMC Genomics. 2016; 17(1):723 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 dropout screens can identify genes whose knockout affects cell viability. Recent CRISPR screens detected thousands of essential genes required for cellular survival and key cellular processes; however discovering novel lineage-specific genetic dependencies from the many hits still remains a challenge.
RESULTS: To assess whether CRISPR-Cas9 dropout screens can help identify cancer dependencies, we screened two human cancer cell lines carrying known and distinct oncogenic mutations using a genome-wide sgRNA library. We found that the gRNA targeting the driver mutation EGFR was one of the highest-ranking candidates in the EGFR-mutant HCC-827 lung adenocarcinoma cell line. Likewise, sgRNAs for NRAS and MAP2K1 (MEK1), a downstream kinase of mutant NRAS, were identified among the top hits in the NRAS-mutant neuroblastoma cell line CHP-212. Depletion of these genes targeted by the sgRNAs strongly correlated with the sensitivity to specific kinase inhibitors of the EGFR or RAS pathway in cell viability assays. In addition, we describe other dependencies such as TBK1 in HCC-827 cells and TRIB2 in CHP-212 cells which merit further investigation.
CONCLUSIONS: We show that genome-wide CRISPR dropout screens are suitable for the identification of oncogenic drivers and other essential genes.

Eckfeldt CE, Pomeroy EJ, Lee RD, et al.
RALB provides critical survival signals downstream of Ras in acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(40):65147-65156 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Mutations that activate RAS proto-oncogenes and their effectors are common in acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, efforts to therapeutically target Ras or its effectors have been unsuccessful, and have been hampered by an incomplete understanding of which effectors are required for AML proliferation and survival. We investigated the role of Ras effector pathways in AML using murine and human AML models. Whereas genetic disruption of NRAS(V12) expression in an NRAS(V12) and Mll-AF9-driven murine AML induced apoptosis of leukemic cells, inhibition of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling did not reproduce this effect. Conversely, genetic disruption of RALB signaling induced AML cell death and phenocopied the effects of suppressing oncogenic Ras directly - uncovering a novel role for RALB signaling in AML survival. Knockdown of RALB led to decreased phosphorylation of TBK1 and reduced BCL2 expression, providing mechanistic insight into RALB survival signaling in AML. Notably, we found that patient-derived AML blasts have higher levels of RALB-TBK1 signaling compared to normal blood leukocytes, supporting a pathophysiologic role for RALB signaling for AML patients. Overall, our work provides new insight into the specific roles of Ras effector pathways in AML and has identified RALB signaling as a key survival pathway.

Zhang H, Chen L, Cai SH, Cheng H
Identification of TBK1 and IKKε, the non-canonical IκB kinases, as crucial pro-survival factors in HTLV-1-transformed T lymphocytes.
Leuk Res. 2016; 46:37-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Persistent activation of NF-κB is a prerequisite for development of adult T cell leukemia-lymphoma (ATL) caused by human T cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1). HTLV-1 genome encodes a viral transforming protein named Tax, which constitutively activates the canonical IκB kinases (IKK), the central regulator of NF-κB signaling. However, the role of the non-canonical IκB kinases, TBK1 and IKKε, in the pathogenesis of HTLV-1-associated leukemia has not been evaluated. We here show that TBK1/IKKε are crucial pro-survival molecules by maintaining persistent activity of Stat3. Consistent with this finding, silencing Stat3 by the specific shRNA or by the chemical inhibitor ruxolitinib results in drastic impediment of leukemia cell growth. We further find that in HTLV-1-transformed T cells expressing Tax, TBK1 co-localizes with the canonical IκB kinases and Tax in the lipid raft microdomains. The wild type Tax, but not the Tax mutant defective in activating the canonical IKK, promotes the lipid raft translocation of TBK1. This phenomenon correlates with Tax activation of both NF-κB and Stat3. Tax does not interact directly with TBK1/IKKε, and it rather engages a molecular crosstalk between the canonical IKKs and TBK1/IKKε. Our data, therefore, demonstrate a key role of TBK1/IKKε in the survival and proliferation of HTLV-1-transformed T cells and implicate a potential therapy targeting TBK1/IKKε and Stat3 in controlling HTLV-1-mediated oncogenesis.

Yuen CK, Chan CP, Fung SY, et al.
Suppression of Type I Interferon Production by Human T-Cell Leukemia Virus Type 1 Oncoprotein Tax through Inhibition of IRF3 Phosphorylation.
J Virol. 2016; 90(8):3902-3912 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Infection with human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is associated with adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and tropical spastic paraparesis. Type I interferons (IFNs) are key effectors of the innate antiviral response, and IFN-α combined with the nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor zidovudine is considered the standard first-line therapy for ATL. HTLV-1 oncoprotein Tax is known to suppress innate IFN production and response but the underlying mechanisms remain to be fully established. In this study, we report on the suppression of type I IFN production by HTLV-1 Tax through interaction with and inhibition of TBK1 kinase that phosphorylates IRF3. Induced transcription of IFN-β was severely impaired in HTLV-1-transformed ATL cells and freshly infected T lymphocytes. The ability to suppress IRF3 activation was ascribed to Tax. The expression of Tax alone sufficiently repressed the induction of IFN production by RIG-I plus PACT, cGAMP synthase plus STING, TBK1, IKKε, IRF3, and IRF7, but not by IRF3-5D, a dominant-active phosphomimetic mutant. This suggests that Tax perturbs IFN production at the step of IRF3 phosphorylation. Tax mutants deficient for CREB or NF-κB activation were fully competent in the suppression of IFN production. Coimmunoprecipitation experiments confirmed the association of Tax with TBK1, IKKε, STING, and IRF3.In vitrokinase assay indicated an inhibitory effect of Tax on TBK1-mediated phosphorylation of IRF3. Taken together, our findings suggested a new mechanism by which HTLV-1 oncoprotein Tax circumvents the production of type I IFNs in infected cells. Our findings have implications in therapeutic intervention of ATL.
IMPORTANCE: Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is the cause of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL), an aggressive and fatal blood cancer, as well as another chronic disabling disease of the spinal cord. Treatments are unsatisfactory, and options are limited. A combination of antiviral cellular protein alpha interferon and zidovudine, which is an inhibitor of a viral enzyme called reverse transcriptase, has been recommended as the standard first-line therapy for ATL. Exactly how HTLV-1 interacts with the cellular machinery for interferon production and action is not well understood. Our work sheds light on the mechanism of action for the inhibition of interferon production by an HTLV-1 oncogenic protein called Tax. Our findings might help to improve interferon-based anti-HTLV-1 and anti-ATL therapy.

Liu S, Feng P
MiR-203 Determines Poor Outcome and Suppresses Tumor Growth by Targeting TBK1 in Osteosarcoma.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2015; 37(5):1956-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Increasing evidence has shown that miR-203 plays important role in human cancer progression. However, little is known about the function of miR-203 in osteosarcoma (OS).
METHODS: The expression of miR-203 in OS tissues and cell lines were examined by qRT-PCR. The biological role of miR-20 in OS cell proliferation was examined in vitro and in vivo. The targets of miR-203 were identified by a luciferase reporter gene assay.
RESULTS: miR-203 was down regulated in OS tissues and cell lines; decreased miR-203 was associated with a poor overall survival in OS patients. Restoration of miR-203 expression reduced cell growth in vitro and suppressed tumorigenicity in vivo. In contrast, inhibition of miR-203 stimulated OS cell growth both in vitro and in vivo. In addition, TANK binding kinase 1 (TBK1) was identified as a direct target of miR-203; overexpression of TBK1 partly reversed the suppressive effects of miR-203. Furthermore, TBK1 was found up-regulated and inversely correlated with miR-203 in OS tissues.
CONCLUSION: Taken together, these findings suggest that miR-203 acts as a tumor suppressor via regulation of TBK1 expression in OS progression, and miR-203 may be a promising therapeutic target for OS.

Sunakawa Y, Stintzing S, Cao S, et al.
Variations in genes regulating tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) to predict outcomes of bevacizumab-based treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer: results from TRIBE and FIRE3 trials.
Ann Oncol. 2015; 26(12):2450-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) with the M2-like phenotype are regulated by mainly NF-kB pathway including TBK1, which can influence tumor progression by secretion of proangiogenic factors such as vascular endothelial growth factor. The CCL2/CCR2 axis, histidine-rich glycoprotein (HRG), and placenta growth factor (PIGF) play a critical role in the polarization of M1/M2 phenotypes and the recruitment of TAMs to tumor microenvironment. We therefore hypothesized that variations in genes involved in regulating TAMs may predict clinical outcomes of bevacizumab treatment in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We analyzed genomic DNA extracted from samples of patients receiving bevacizumab plus FOLFIRI as a first-line treatment using PCR-based direct sequencing. Twelve functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms in eight genes (CCL2, CCR2, HRG, PIGF, NFKB1, TBK1, CCL18, and IRF3) were tested for associations with clinical outcomes in a discovery cohort of 228 participants in TRIBE trial (NCT00719797), then validated in 248 KRAS exon2 (KRAS) wild-type participants in FIRE3 trial (NCT00433927). FIRE3-cetuximab cohort served as a negative control.
RESULTS: TBK1 rs7486100 was significantly associated with overall survival in 95 KRAS wild-type patients of TRIBE cohort in univariate analysis and had a strong trend in multivariable analysis; furthermore, the association of the T allele was observed for progression-free survival (PFS) in both univariate and multivariable analyses in FIRE3-bevacizumab but not cetuximab cohort. CCL2 rs4586, CCL18 rs14304, and IRF3 rs2304205 had univariate and multivariable correlations with PFS in KRAS mutant patients of the TRIBE cohort, whereas they had no correlations in KRAS wild-type patients of the TRIBE cohort. No association was seen in control cohort.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study demonstrates for the first time that variations in genes regulating TAMs-related functions are significantly associated with clinical outcomes in mCRC patients treated with bevacizumab-containing chemotherapy. These results also suggest that some TAM-related gene variations may predict outcomes of bevacizumab treatment in KRAS status-dependent manner.

Huynh TP, Barwe SP, Lee SJ, et al.
Glucocorticoids suppress renal cell carcinoma progression by enhancing Na,K-ATPase beta-1 subunit expression.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(4):e0122442 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Glucocorticoids are commonly used as palliative or chemotherapeutic clinical agents for treatment of a variety of cancers. Although steroid treatment is beneficial, the mechanisms by which steroids improve outcome in cancer patients are not well understood. Na,K-ATPase beta-subunit isoform 1 (NaK-β1) is a cell-cell adhesion molecule, and its expression is down-regulated in cancer cells undergoing epithelial-to mesenchymal-transition (EMT), a key event associated with cancer progression to metastatic disease. In this study, we performed high-throughput screening to identify small molecules that could up-regulate NaK-β1 expression in cancer cells. Compounds related to the glucocorticoids were identified as drug candidates enhancing NaK-β1 expression. Of these compounds, triamcinolone, dexamethasone, and fluorometholone were validated to increase NaK-β1 expression at the cell surface, enhance cell-cell adhesion, attenuate motility and invasiveness and induce mesenchymal to epithelial like transition of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) cells in vitro. Treatment of NaK-β1 knockdown cells with these drug candidates confirmed that these compounds mediate their effects through up-regulating NaK-β1. Furthermore, we demonstrated that these compounds attenuate tumor growth in subcutaneous RCC xenografts and reduce local invasiveness in orthotopically-implanted tumors. Our results strongly indicate that the addition of glucocorticoids in the treatment of RCC may improve outcome for RCC patients by augmenting NaK-β1 cell-cell adhesion function.

Song B, Zheng K, Ma H, et al.
miR-429 determines poor outcome and inhibits pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma growth by targeting TBK1.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2015; 35(5):1846-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) ranks fourth on the list of cancer-related causes of death and its prognosis has not improved significantly over the past decades. Deregulation or dysfunction of miRNAs contribute to cancer development. Previous data indicates that miR-429 is involved in the pathogenesis of PDAC. However, the role of miR-429 in PDAC remained unknown.
METHODS: MiR-429 levels in sample tissues of 78 patients and in PANC1 and SW1990 cell lines were quantified by real-time PCR. MiR-429 expression was modulated using specific pre- and anti-miRNAs and cell growth was assayed by MTT analysis. Bioinformatics prediction of the miR-429 putative target genes was performed and luciferase assays confirmed TBK1 as a direct target gene. TBK1 levels in PDAC tissues were analyzed by immunohistochemistry.
RESULTS: MiR-429 was remarkably decreased in PDAC tissues and cell lines. Lower miR-429 expression in PDAC tissues significantly correlated with shorter survival of PDAC patients. Overexpression of miR-429 inhibited PDAC cell lines growth in vitro and vice versa. TBK1 was found to be the direct target gene of miR-429. Higher TBK1 protein level in PDAC tissues correlated with shorter survival of PDAC patients. Overexpression of TBK1 partly restored cell proliferation.
CONCLUSIONS: Low level of miR-429 and high level of TBK1 in PDAC promoted PDAC cells growth which might be related to the low survival rate of PDAC patients. MiR-429 play its role in PDAC by targeting TBK1.

Cui J, Chen Y, Wang HY, Wang RF
Mechanisms and pathways of innate immune activation and regulation in health and cancer.
Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014; 10(11):3270-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Research on innate immune signaling and regulation has recently focused on pathogen recognition receptors (PRRs) and their signaling pathways. Members of PRRs sense diverse microbial invasions or danger signals, and initiate innate immune signaling pathways, leading to proinflammatory cytokines production, which, in turn, instructs adaptive immune response development. Despite the diverse functions employed by innate immune signaling to respond to a variety of different pathogens, the innate immune response must be tightly regulated. Otherwise, aberrant, uncontrolled immune responses will lead to harmful, or even fatal, consequences. Therefore, it is essential to better discern innate immune signaling and many regulators, controlling various signaling pathways, have been identified. In this review, we focus on the recent advances in our understanding of the activation and regulation of innate immune signaling in the host response to pathogens and cancer.

Yang B, Jeang J, Yang A, et al.
DNA vaccine for cancer immunotherapy.
Hum Vaccin Immunother. 2014; 10(11):3153-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA vaccination has emerged as an attractive immunotherapeutic approach against cancer due to its simplicity, stability, and safety. Results from numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that DNA vaccines are well tolerated by patients and do not trigger major adverse effects. DNA vaccines are also very cost effective and can be administered repeatedly for long-term protection. Despite all the practical advantages, DNA vaccines face challenges in inducing potent antigen specific cellular immune responses as a result of immune tolerance against endogenous self-antigens in tumors. Strategies to enhance immunogenicity of DNA vaccines against self-antigens have been investigated including encoding of xenogeneic versions of antigens, fusion of antigens to molecules that activate T cells or trigger associative recognition, priming with DNA vectors followed by boosting with viral vector, and utilization of immunomodulatory molecules. This review will focus on discussing strategies that circumvent immune tolerance and provide updates on findings from recent clinical trials.

Chakraborty S, Li L, Puliyappadamba VT, et al.
Constitutive and ligand-induced EGFR signalling triggers distinct and mutually exclusive downstream signalling networks.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:5811 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) overexpression plays an important oncogenic role in cancer. Regular EGFR protein levels are increased in cancer cells and the receptor then becomes constitutively active. However, downstream signals generated by constitutively activated EGFR are unknown. Here we report that the overexpressed EGFR oscillates between two distinct and mutually exclusive modes of signalling. Constitutive or non-canonical EGFR signalling activates the transcription factor IRF3 leading to expression of IFI27, IFIT1 and TRAIL. Ligand-mediated activation of EGFR switches off IRF3-dependent transcription, activates canonical extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and Akt signals, and confers sensitivity to chemotherapy and virus-induced cell death. Mechanistically, the distinct downstream signals result from a switch of EGFR-associated proteins. EGFR constitutively complexes with IRF3 and TBK1 leading to TBK1 and IRF3 phosphorylation. Addition of epidermal growth factor dissociates TBK1, IRF3 and EGFR leading to a loss of IRF3 activity, Shc-EGFR association and ERK activation. Finally, we provide evidence for non-canonical EGFR signalling in glioblastoma.

Xue Y, Ma G, Gu D, et al.
Genome-wide analysis of long noncoding RNA signature in human colorectal cancer.
Gene. 2015; 556(2):227-34 [PubMed] Related Publications
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been widely regarded as crucial regulators in various biological processes involved in carcinogenesis. However, the comprehensive lncRNA expression signature in colorectal cancer remains fully unknown. We performed a high throughput microarray assay to detect lncRNA expression profile in three paired human colorectal cancer tissues and their adjacent normal tissues. Additional 90 paired colorectal samples were collected to verify differently expression levels of two selected lncRNAs using q-RT-PCR assay. Bioinformatic approaches were performed to explore into the functions of these differently expressed lncRNAs. Microarray assay showed a series of lncRNAs were differently expressed in colorectal cancer. Two of the lncRNAs, HOTAIR and a novel lncRNA, lncRNA-422 were confirmed in more samples (P=0.015 for HOTAIR and P=0.027 for lncRNA-422, respectively). GSEA indicated that gene sets most correlated with them were those named up-regulated in KRAS-over, down-regulated in JAK2-knockout, down-regulated in PDGF-over and down-regulated in TBK1-knockout, all of which were cancer-related. Subsequently, GO analyses of most significantly correlated coding genes of HOTAIR and lncRNA-422 showed that these two lncRNAs may participate in carcinogenesis by regulating protein coding genes involved in special biological process relevant to cancer. Our study demonstrated that different lncRNA expression patterns were involved in colorectal cancer. Besides, HOTAIR and lncRNA-422 were identified to participate in colorectal cancer. Further studies into biological mechanisms of differently expressed lncRNAs identified in our study will help to provide new perspective in colorectal cancer pathogenesis.

Gridling M, Ficarro SB, Breitwieser FP, et al.
Identification of kinase inhibitor targets in the lung cancer microenvironment by chemical and phosphoproteomics.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(11):2751-62 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
A growing number of gene mutations, which are recognized as cancer drivers, can be successfully targeted with drugs. The redundant and dynamic nature of oncogenic signaling networks and complex interactions between cancer cells and the microenvironment, however, can cause drug resistance. While these challenges can be addressed by developing drug combinations or polypharmacology drugs, this benefits greatly from a detailed understanding of the proteome-wide target profiles. Using mass spectrometry-based chemical proteomics, we report the comprehensive characterization of the drug-protein interaction networks for the multikinase inhibitors dasatinib and sunitinib in primary lung cancer tissue specimens derived from patients. We observed in excess of 100 protein kinase targets plus various protein complexes involving, for instance, AMPK, TBK1 (sunitinib), and ILK (dasatinib). Importantly, comparison with lung cancer cell lines and mouse xenografts thereof showed that most targets were shared between cell lines and tissues. Several targets, however, were only present in tumor tissues. In xenografts, most of these proteins were of mouse origin suggesting that they originate from the tumor microenvironment. Furthermore, intersection with subsequent global phosphoproteomic analysis identified several activated signaling pathways. These included MAPK, immune, and integrin signaling, which were affected by these drugs in both cancer cells and the microenvironment. Thus, the combination of chemical and phosphoproteomics can generate a systems view of proteins, complexes, and signaling pathways that are simultaneously engaged by multitargeted drugs in cancer cells and the tumor microenvironment. This may allow for the design of novel anticancer therapies that concurrently target multiple tumor compartments.

Vu HL, Aplin AE
Targeting TBK1 inhibits migration and resistance to MEK inhibitors in mutant NRAS melanoma.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(10):1509-19 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Melanoma is a devastating form of skin cancer with limited therapeutic options. Fifteen to 20% of patients with melanoma have an activating mutation in the GTPase, NRAS. The major downstream effectors of RAS are RAFs (ARAF, BRAF, and CRAF), phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K), and the Ral guanine exchange factors (RalGEF). TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) is an atypical IκB kinase family member that acts downstream of RalGEFs. Whereas many studies have analyzed RAF and PI3K signaling in mutant NRAS melanoma, the role of RalGEF/Ral is understudied and TBK1 has not been examined. To address this, TBK1 was modulated with knockdown approaches and targeted therapies to determine the role of TBK1 in motility, apoptosis, and signaling. In melanoma, NRAS overexpression increased TBK1 phosphorylation. TBK1 depletion inhibited migration and invasion, whereas its constitutive overexpression led to an increase in invasion. In three-dimensional systems that mimic the dermal microenvironment, TBK1 depletion or inhibition cooperated with MEK inhibitors to promote apoptosis, particularly in the context of MEK-insensitive mutant NRAS. This effect was absent in melanoma cells that are wild-type for NRAS. These results suggest the utility of TBK1 inhibitors as part of a treatment regimen for patients with mutant NRAS melanoma, for whom there are no current effective therapies.
IMPLICATIONS: TBK1 promotes the malignant properties of NRAS-mutant melanoma and its targeting, in combination with MEK, promotes apoptosis, thus providing a potential novel targeted therapeutic option.

Muvaffak A, Pan Q, Yan H, et al.
Evaluating TBK1 as a therapeutic target in cancers with activated IRF3.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(7):1055-66 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: TBK1 (TANK-binding kinase 1) is a noncanonical IκB protein kinase that phosphorylates and activates downstream targets such as IRF3 and c-Rel and, mediates NF-κB activation in cancer. Previous reports demonstrated synthetic lethality of TBK1 with mutant KRAS in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); thus, TBK1 could be a novel target for treatment of KRAS-mutant NSCLC. Here, the effect of TBK1 on proliferation in a panel of cancer cells by both genetic and pharmacologic approaches was evaluated. In KRAS-mutant cancer cells, reduction of TBK1 activity by knockdown or treatment with TBK1 inhibitors did not correlate with reduced proliferation in a two-dimensional viability assay. Verification of target engagement via reduced phosphorylation of S386 of IRF3 (pIRF3(S386)) was difficult to assess in NSCLC cells due to low protein expression. However, several cell lines were identified with high pIRF3(S386) levels after screening a large panel of cell lines, many of which also harbor KRAS mutations. Specifically, a large subset of KRAS-mutant pancreatic cancer cell lines was uncovered with high constitutive pIRF3(S386) levels, which correlated with high levels of phosphorylated S172 of TBK1 (pTBK1(S172)). Finally, TBK1 inhibitors dose-dependently inhibited pIRF3(S386) in these cell lines, but this did not correlate with inhibition of cell growth. Taken together, these data demonstrate that the regulation of pathways important for cell proliferation in some NSCLC, pancreatic, and colorectal cell lines is not solely dependent on TBK1 activity.
IMPLICATIONS: TBK1 has therapeutic potential under certain contexts and phosphorylation of its downstream target IRF3 is a biomarker of TBK1 activity.

Kim HN, Kim DH, Kim EH, et al.
Sulforaphane inhibits phorbol ester-stimulated IKK-NF-κB signaling and COX-2 expression in human mammary epithelial cells by targeting NF-κB activating kinase and ERK.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 351(1):41-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate present in cruciferous vegetables, has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory and cancer chemopreventive properties. However, the molecular mechanisms by which sulforaphane suppresses inflammation and carcinogenesis are yet to be fully elucidated. Since the aberrant expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) links inflammation and cancer, the present study was aimed to elucidate the mechanisms by which sulforaphane modulates COX-2 overexpression in human mammary epithelial (MCF-10A) cells stimulated with a prototypic tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Treatment of MCF-10A cells with sulforaphane significantly inhibited TPA-induced expression of COX-2 protein and its mRNA transcript. Transient transfection of cells with deletion mutant constructs of COX-2 promoter revealed that the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) plays a key role in TPA-induced COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells. Pretreatment with sulforaphane significantly attenuated nuclear localization, DNA binding and the transcriptional activity of NF-κB through inhibition of phosphorylation and subsequent degradation of IκBα in MCF-10A cells stimulated with TPA. Sulforaphane also attenuated TPA-induced activation of IκB kinases (IKK), NF-κB-activating kinase (NAK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2). Pharmacological inhibition of IKK or transient transfection of cells with dominant-negative mutant forms of this kinase abrogated TPA-induced NF-κB activation and COX-2 expression. In addition, the blockade of ERK1/2 activation negated the catalytic activity of IKKα, but not that of IKKβ, whereas silencing NAK by specific siRNA abrogated the IKKβ activity in TPA-treated cells. Taken together, sulforaphane inhibits TPA-induced NF-κB activation and COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells by blocking two distinct signaling pathways mediated by ERK1/2-IKKα and NAK-IKKβ.

Shostak K, Patrascu F, Göktuna SI, et al.
MDM2 restrains estrogen-mediated AKT activation by promoting TBK1-dependent HPIP degradation.
Cell Death Differ. 2014; 21(5):811-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Restoration of p53 tumor suppressor function through inhibition of its interaction and/or enzymatic activity of its E3 ligase, MDM2, is a promising therapeutic approach to treat cancer. However, because the MDM2 targetome extends beyond p53, MDM2 inhibition may also cause unwanted activation of oncogenic pathways. Accordingly, we identified the microtubule-associated HPIP, a positive regulator of oncogenic AKT signaling, as a novel MDM2 substrate. MDM2-dependent HPIP degradation occurs in breast cancer cells on its phosphorylation by the estrogen-activated kinase TBK1. Importantly, decreasing Mdm2 gene dosage in mouse mammary epithelial cells potentiates estrogen-dependent AKT activation owing to HPIP stabilization. In addition, we identified HPIP as a novel p53 transcriptional target, and pharmacological inhibition of MDM2 causes p53-dependent increase in HPIP transcription and also prevents HPIP degradation by turning off TBK1 activity. Our data indicate that p53 reactivation through MDM2 inhibition may result in ectopic AKT oncogenic activity by maintaining HPIP protein levels.

Deng T, Liu JC, Chung PE, et al.
shRNA kinome screen identifies TBK1 as a therapeutic target for HER2+ breast cancer.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(7):2119-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
HER2(+) breast cancer is currently treated with chemotherapy plus anti-HER2 inhibitors. Many patients do not respond or relapse with aggressive metastatic disease. Therefore, there is an urgent need for new therapeutics that can target HER2(+) breast cancer and potentiate the effect of anti-HER2 inhibitors, in particular those that can target tumor-initiating cells (TIC). Here, we show that MMTV-Her2/Neu mammary tumor cells cultured as nonadherent spheres or as adherent monolayer cells select for stabilizing mutations in p53 that "immortalize" the cultures and that, after serial passages, sphere conditions maintain TICs, whereas monolayer cells gradually lose these tumorigenic cells. Using tumorsphere formation as surrogate for TICs, we screened p53-mutant Her2/Neu(+) tumorsphere versus monolayer cells with a lentivirus short hairpin RNA kinome library. We identified kinases such as the mitogen-activated protein kinase and the TGFβR protein family, previously implicated in HER2(+) breast cancer, as well as autophagy factor ATG1/ULK1 and the noncanonical IκB kinase (IKK), TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1), which have not been previously linked to HER2(+) breast cancer. Knockdown of TBK1 or pharmacologic inhibition of TBK1 and the related protein, IKKε, suppressed growth of both mouse and human HER2(+) breast cancer cells. TBK1/IKKε inhibition promoted cellular senescence by suppressing p65-NF-κB and inducing p16(Ink4a). In addition, TBK1/IKKε inhibition cooperated with lapatinib, a HER2/EGFR1-targeted drug, to accelerate apoptosis and kill HER2(+) breast cancer cells both in culture and in xenografts. Our results suggest that patients with HER2(+) breast cancer may benefit from anti-TBK1/IKKε plus anti-HER2 combination therapies and establish conditions that can be used to screen for additional TIC-specific inhibitors of HER2(+) breast cancer.

Selvakumar P, Owens TA, David JM, et al.
Epigenetic silencing of Na,K-ATPase β 1 subunit gene ATP1B1 by methylation in clear cell renal cell carcinoma.
Epigenetics. 2014; 9(4):579-86 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Na,K-ATPase or sodium pump carries out the coupled extrusion of Na(+) and uptake of K(+) across the plasma membranes of cells of most higher eukaryotes. We have shown earlier that Na,K-ATPase-β 1 (NaK-β) protein levels are highly reduced in poorly differentiated kidney carcinoma cells in culture and in patients' tumor samples. The mechanism(s) regulating the expression of NaK-β in tumor tissues has yet to be explored. We hypothesized that DNA methylation plays a role in silencing the NaK-β gene (ATP1B1) expression in kidney cancers. In this study, to the best of our knowledge we provide the first evidence that ATP1B1 is epigenetically silenced by promoter methylation in both renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients' tissues and cell lines. We also show that knockdown of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene in RCC cell lines results in enhanced ATP1B1 promoter AT hypermethylation, which is accompanied by reduced expression of NaK-β. Furthermore, treatment with 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine rescued the expression of ATP1B1 mRNA as well as NaK-β protein in these cells. These data demonstrate that promoter hypermethylation is associated with reduced NaK-β expression, which might contribute to RCC initiation and/or disease progression.

Zhang Z, Huang L, Wu Q, et al.
A recombinant trans-membrane protein hMnSOD-R9 inhibits the proliferation of cervical cancer cells in vitro.
Mol Cell Biochem. 2014; 385(1-2):79-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
Human manganese superoxide dismutase (hMnSOD) is a new type of cancer suppressor. Nonamer of arginine (R9) is an efficient protein transduction domain (PTD). The aim of the study was to improve the transduction efficiency of hMnSOD and investigate its activity in vitro. In this study, we designed, constructed, expressed, and purified a novel fusion protein containing the hMnSOD domain and R9 PTD (hMnSOD–R9). The DNA damaged by Fenton’s reagent was found to be significantly reduced when treated with hMnSOD–R9. hMnSOD–R9 fusion protein was successfully delivered into HeLa cells. The MTT assay showed that proliferation of various cancer cell lines were inhibited by hMnSOD–R9 in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the cell cycle of HeLa cells was arrested at the sub-G0 phase by hMnSOD–R9. hMnSOD–R9 induced apoptosis of HeLa cells in a dose-dependent manner. With hMnSOD–R9 treatment, Bax, JNK, TBK1 gene expression was increased and STAT3 gene expression was gradually down-regulated in HeLa cells. We also found that apoptosis was induced by hMnSOD–R9 in HeLa cells via up-regulation of cleaved caspase-3 and down-regulation phospho-STAT3 pathway. These results indicated that hMnSOD–R9 may provide benefits to cervical cancer treatment.

Yang KM, Jung Y, Lee JM, et al.
Loss of TBK1 induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition in the breast cancer cells by ERα downregulation.
Cancer Res. 2013; 73(22):6679-89 [PubMed] Related Publications
Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is the pivotal regulator of proliferation and differentiation in mammary epithelia, where it serves as a crucial prognostic marker and therapeutic target in breast cancer. In this study, we show that the loss of the kinase TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) induces epithelial-mesenchymal transition in ERα-positive breast cancer cells by downregulating ERα expression. TBK1 was overexpressed in ERα-positive breast cancers, where it was associated with distant metastasis-free survival in patients, whereas it was underexpressed in ERα-negative breast cancers. TBK1 silencing decreased expression of epithelial markers and increased expression of mesenchymal markers in ERα-positive breast cancer cells, enhancing tumor growth and lung metastasis in vivo in a manner associated with downregulation of ERα expression. Mechanistically, TBK1 silencing reduced FOXO3A binding to the ERα promoter by inducing the translocation of phosphorylated FOXO3A from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Thus, our results indicate that the loss of TBK1 expression parallels the loss of ERα expression, in turn helping drive an aggressive breast cancer phenotype.

Kim JY, Welsh EA, Oguz U, et al.
Dissection of TBK1 signaling via phosphoproteomics in lung cancer cells.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(30):12414-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) has emerged as a novel therapeutic target for unspecified subset of lung cancers. TBK1 reportedly mediates prosurvival signaling by activating NF-κB and AKT. However, we observed that TBK1 knockdown also decreased viability of cells expressing constitutively active NF-κB and interferon regulatory factor 3. Basal phospho-AKT level was not reduced after TBK1 knockdown in TBK1-sensitive lung cancer cells, implicating that TBK1 mediates unknown survival mechanisms. To gain better insight into TBK1 survival signaling, we searched for altered phosphoproteins using mass spectrometry following RNAi-mediated TBK1 knockdown. In total, we identified 2,080 phosphoproteins (4,621 peptides), of which 385 proteins (477 peptides) were affected after TBK1 knockdown. A view of the altered network identified a central role of Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) and known PLK1 targets. We found that TBK1 directly phosphorylated PLK1 in vitro. TBK1 phosphorylation was induced at mitosis, and loss of TBK1 impaired mitotic phosphorylation of PLK1 in TBK1-sensitive lung cancer cells. Furthermore, lung cancer cell sensitivity to TBK1 was highly correlated with sensitivity to pharmacological PLK inhibition. We additionally found that TBK1 knockdown decreased metadherin phosphorylation at Ser-568. Metadherin was associated with poor outcome in lung cancer, and loss of metadherin caused growth inhibition and apoptosis in TBK1-sensitive lung cancer cells. These results collectively revealed TBK1 as a mitosis regulator through activation of PLK1 and also suggested metadherin as a putative TBK1 downstream effector involved in lung cancer cell survival.

Karim R, Tummers B, Meyers C, et al.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) upregulates the cellular deubiquitinase UCHL1 to suppress the keratinocyte's innate immune response.
PLoS Pathog. 2013; 9(5):e1003384 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Persistent infection of basal keratinocytes with high-risk human papillomavirus (hrHPV) may cause cancer. Keratinocytes are equipped with different pattern recognition receptors (PRRs) but hrHPV has developed ways to dampen their signals resulting in minimal inflammation and evasion of host immunity for sustained periods of time. To understand the mechanisms underlying hrHPV's capacity to evade immunity, we studied PRR signaling in non, newly, and persistently hrHPV-infected keratinocytes. We found that active infection with hrHPV hampered the relay of signals downstream of the PRRs to the nucleus, thereby affecting the production of type-I interferon and pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. This suppression was shown to depend on hrHPV-induced expression of the cellular protein ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1) in keratinocytes. UCHL1 accomplished this by inhibiting tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 3 (TRAF3) K63 poly-ubiquitination which lead to lower levels of TRAF3 bound to TANK-binding kinase 1 and a reduced phosphorylation of interferon regulatory factor 3. Furthermore, UCHL1 mediated the degradation of the NF-kappa-B essential modulator with as result the suppression of p65 phosphorylation and canonical NF-κB signaling. We conclude that hrHPV exploits the cellular protein UCHL1 to evade host innate immunity by suppressing PRR-induced keratinocyte-mediated production of interferons, cytokines and chemokines, which normally results in the attraction and activation of an adaptive immune response. This identifies UCHL1 as a negative regulator of PRR-induced immune responses and consequently its virus-increased expression as a strategy for hrHPV to persist.

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