Gene Summary

Gene:TRAF6; TNF receptor associated factor 6
Aliases: RNF85, MGC:3310
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the TNF receptor associated factor (TRAF) protein family. TRAF proteins are associated with, and mediate signal transduction from, members of the TNF receptor superfamily. This protein mediates signaling from members of the TNF receptor superfamily as well as the Toll/IL-1 family. Signals from receptors such as CD40, TNFSF11/RANCE and IL-1 have been shown to be mediated by this protein. This protein also interacts with various protein kinases including IRAK1/IRAK, SRC and PKCzeta, which provides a link between distinct signaling pathways. This protein functions as a signal transducer in the NF-kappaB pathway that activates IkappaB kinase (IKK) in response to proinflammatory cytokines. The interaction of this protein with UBE2N/UBC13, and UBE2V1/UEV1A, which are ubiquitin conjugating enzymes catalyzing the formation of polyubiquitin chains, has been found to be required for IKK activation by this protein. This protein also interacts with the transforming growth factor (TGF) beta receptor complex and is required for Smad-independent activation of the JNK and p38 kinases. This protein has an amino terminal RING domain which is followed by four zinc-finger motifs, a central coiled-coil region and a highly conserved carboxyl terminal domain, known as the TRAF-C domain. Two alternatively spliced transcript variants, encoding an identical protein, have been reported. [provided by RefSeq, Feb 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:TNF receptor-associated factor 6
Source:NCBIAccessed: 09 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (77)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 10 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

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

  • Signal Transduction
  • ras Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Apoptosis
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Transfection
  • Chromosome 11
  • NF-kappa B
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Knockout Mice
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Breast Cancer
  • RNA Interference
  • Protein Binding
  • Messenger RNA
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 2
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Tongue Neoplasms
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Bladder Cancer
  • TNF Receptor-Associated Factor 6
  • MicroRNAs
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • siRNA
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Lung Cancer
  • eIF-2 Kinase
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Up-Regulation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Skin Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Interleukin-1 Receptor-Associated Kinases
  • Young Adult
  • Cell Proliferation
Tag cloud generated 09 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (6)

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

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

Latest Publications: TRAF6 (cancer-related)

He Z, Huang C, Lin G, Ye Y
siRNA-induced TRAF6 knockdown promotes the apoptosis and inhibits the invasion of human lung cancer SPC-A1 cells.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 35(4):1933-40 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) has been found to be involved in multiple cancers. However, the effect of small interfering RNA (siRNA)‑induced knockdown of TRAF6 on the biological behaviors of cancer cells remains unknown. Thus, the present study aimed to investigate the effect of siRNA-induced knockdown of TRAF6 on the biological behaviors of human lung cancer SPC-A1 cells. The expression of TRAF6 was determined in human lung adenocarcinoma A549, non-small cell lung cancer H1650, human airway epithelial Calu-3 and human lung cancer SPC-A1 cell lines using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT‑PCR) and western blotting at the transcriptional and translational levels. TRAF6 expression was knocked down in the SPC-A1 cells using an siRNA technique, and the effects of TRAF6 knockdown on NF-κB activity, cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle, invasion and migration of the SPC-A1 cells were determined using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), cell proliferation assay, flow cytometry, Transwell invasion assay and scratch wound assay. In addition, the protein expression of CD24, CXCR4, MMP1, MMP2, MMP9, TWIST, TIMP-2 and Slug was quantified using western blotting assay. Western blotting and qRT-PCR assays showed upregulation of TRAF6 at both the translational and transcriptional levels in the Calu-3 and SPC-A1 cells, and K63-linked ubiquitination of TRAF6 and constitutive NF-κB activation were detected in the SPC-A1 cells. Knockdown of TRAF6 inhibited the migration and invasion and promoted the apoptosis of the SPC-A1 cells, but had little effect on cell proliferation and the cell cycle. In addition, siRNA-induced TRAF6 knockdown caused a marked reduction in the protein expression of CD24 and CXCR4, but had little effect on MMP-1, MMP-2, MMP-9, Twist, TIMP-2 or Slug expression. The present study demonstrated that TRAF6 is upregulated in human lung cancer cells, and siRNA-induced TRAF6 knockdown inhibits the invasion of lung cancer cells and promotes apoptosis. It is suggested that TRAF6 may be a promising target for the therapy of lung cancer.

Song J, Mu Y, Li C, et al.
APPL proteins promote TGFβ-induced nuclear transport of the TGFβ type I receptor intracellular domain.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(1):279-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The multifunctional cytokine transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) is produced by several types of cancers, including prostate cancer, and promote tumour progression in autocrine and paracrine manners. In response to ligand binding, the TGFβ type I receptor (TβRI) activates Smad and non-Smad signalling pathways. The ubiquitin-ligase tumour necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) was recently linked to regulate intramembrane proteolytic cleavage of the TβRI in cancer cells. Subsequently, the intracellular domain (ICD) of TβRI enters in an unknown manner into the nucleus, where it promotes the transcription of pro-invasive genes, such as MMP2 and MMP9. Here we show that the endocytic adaptor molecules APPL1 and APPL2 are required for TGFβ-induced nuclear translocation of TβRI-ICD and for cancer cell invasiveness of human prostate and breast cancer cell lines. Moreover, APPL proteins were found to be expressed at high levels in aggressive prostate cancer tissues, and to be associated with TβRI in a TRAF6-dependent manner. Our results suggest that the APPL-TβRI complex promotes prostate tumour progression, and may serve as a prognostic marker.

Zhang LK, Lin T, Zhu SL, et al.
Global quantitative proteomic analysis of human glioma cells profiled host protein expression in response to enterovirus type 71 infection.
Proteomics. 2015; 15(22):3784-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
Enterovirus 71 (EV71) is one of the leading causes of hand, foot and mouth disease with neurological complications in some cases. To study the pathogenesis of EV71 infection, large-scale analyses of EV71 infected cells have been performed. However, most of these studies employed rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells or used transcriptomic strategy. Here, we performed SILAC-based quantitative proteomic analysis of EV71-infected U251 cells, a human glioma cell line. A total of 3125 host proteins were quantified, in which 451 were differentially regulated as a result of EV71 infection at 8 or 20 hpi or both. Gene Ontology analysis indicates the regulated proteins were enriched in "metabolic process", "biological regulation" and "cellular process", implying that these biological processes were affected by EV71 infection. Furthermore, functional study indicated that TRAF2 and TRAF6 among the up-regulated proteins could inhibit the replication of EV71 at the early phase post infection, and the anti-EV71 function of both proteins was independent of interferon β. Our study not only provided an overview of cellular response to EV71 infection in a human glioma cell line, but also found that TRAF2 and TRAF6 might be potential targets to inhibit the replication of EV71. All MS data have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange with identifier PXD002454 (

Liu J, Xu J, Li H, et al.
miR-146b-5p functions as a tumor suppressor by targeting TRAF6 and predicts the prognosis of human gliomas.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(30):29129-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Down-regulation of miR-146b-5p contributes to tumorigenesis in several human cancers. However, the relevance of miR-146b-5p to prognosis, proliferation and apoptosis in gliomas remains unknown. In the present study, we demonstrated that miR-146b-5p expression was inversely correlated with grades and Ki-67 index in 147 human glioma specimens, but positively correlated with patients' survival. Furthermore, two distinct subgroups of patients with grade I-IV gliomas with different prognoses were identified according to miR-146b-5p expression in our specimens. Cox regression showed that miR-146b-5p was an independent predictor for patients' survival. Overexpression of miR-146b-5p dramatically suppressed glioma cell proliferation and induced apoptosis. Mechanistically, we validated TRAF6 as a direct functional target of miR-146b-5p and found that miR-146b-5p overexpression significantly decreased phosphorylated TAK1 and IκBα, the pivotal downstream effectors of TRAF6. Moreover, TRAF6 expression was positively correlated with glioma grades and Ki-67 index but inversely correlated with miR-146b-5p expression and predicted poor prognosis of glioma patients. In glioblastoma cell lines, silencing of TRAF6 could mimic the anti-tumor effect of miR-146b-5p. Our findings identify miR-146b-5p as a tumor suppressor and novel prognostic biomarker of gliomas, and suggest miR-146b-5p and TRAF6 as potential therapeutic candidates for malignant gliomas.

He A, Ji R, Shao J, et al.
TLR4-MyD88-TRAF6-TAK1 Complex-Mediated NF-κB Activation Contribute to the Anti-Inflammatory Effect of V8 in LPS-Induced Human Cervical Cancer SiHa Cells.
Inflammation. 2016; 39(1):172-81 [PubMed] Related Publications
The synthetic compound 7-4-[Bis-(2-hydroxyethyl)-amino]-butoxy-5-hydroxy-8-methoxy-2-phenylchromen-4-one (V8) is a novel flavonoid-derived compound. In this study, we investigated the effects of V8 on Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)-mediated inflammatory reaction in human cervical cancer SiHa cells and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced TLR4 activity in cervical cancer SiHa (HPV16+) cells, but not in HeLa (HPV18+) and C33A (HPV-) cells. In addition, V8 inhibited LPS-induced expression of TLR4, MyD88, TRAF6 and phosphorylation of TAK1, and their interaction with TLR4 in SiHa cells, resulting in an inhibition of TLR4-MyD88-TRAF6-TAK1 complex. Moreover, V8 blocked LPS-induced phosphorylation of IκB and IKK, resulting in inhibition of the nuclear translocation of P65-NF-κB in SiHa cells. We also found that V8 reduced the expression of NF-κB target genes, such as those for COX-2, iNOS, IL-6, IL-8, CCL-2, and TNF-α in LPS-stimulated SiHa cells. These results suggested that V8 exerted an anti-inflammatory effect on SiHa cells by inhibiting the TLR4-MyD88-TRAF6-TAK1 complex-mediated NF-κB activation.

Wang L, Li G, Yao ZQ, et al.
MicroRNA regulation of viral immunity, latency, and carcinogenesis of selected tumor viruses and HIV.
Rev Med Virol. 2015; 25(5):320-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) function as key regulators in immune responses and cancer development. In the contexts of infection with oncogenic viruses, miRNAs are engaged in viral persistence, latency establishment and maintenance, and oncogenesis. In this review, we summarize the potential roles and mechanisms of viral and cellular miRNAs in the host-pathogen interactions during infection with selected tumor viruses and HIV, which include (i) repressing viral replication and facilitating latency establishment by targeting viral transcripts, (ii) evading innate and adaptive immune responses via toll-like receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, T-cell receptor, and B-cell receptor pathways by targeting signaling molecules such as TRAF6, IRAK1, IKKε, and MyD88, as well as downstream targets including regulatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor α, interferon γ, interleukin 10, and transforming growth factor β, (iii) antagonizing intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis pathways by targeting pro-apoptotic or anti-apoptotic gene transcripts such as the Bcl-2 family and caspase-3, (iv) modulating cell proliferation and survival through regulation of the Wnt, PI3K/Akt, Erk/MAPK, and Jak/STAT signaling pathways, as well as the signaling pathways triggered by viral oncoproteins such as Epstein-Barr Virus LMP1, by targeting Wnt-inhibiting factor 1, SHIP, pTEN, and SOCSs, and (v) regulating cell cycle progression by targeting cell cycle inhibitors such as p21/WAF1 and p27/KIP1. Further elucidation of the interaction between miRNAs and these key biological events will facilitate our understanding of the pathogenesis of viral latency and oncogenesis and may lead to the identification of miRNAs as novel targets for developing new therapeutic or preventive interventions.

Vavougios GD, Solenov EI, Hatzoglou C, et al.
Computational genomic analysis of PARK7 interactome reveals high BBS1 gene expression as a prognostic factor favoring survival in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Am J Physiol Lung Cell Mol Physiol. 2015; 309(7):L677-86 [PubMed] Related Publications
The aim of our study was to assess the differential gene expression of Parkinson protein 7 (PARK7) interactome in malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) using data mining techniques to identify novel candidate genes that may play a role in the pathogenicity of MPM. We constructed the PARK7 interactome using the ConsensusPathDB database. We then interrogated the Oncomine Cancer Microarray database using the Gordon Mesothelioma Study, for differential gene expression of the PARK7 interactome. In ConsensusPathDB, 38 protein interactors of PARK7 were identified. In the Gordon Mesothelioma Study, 34 of them were assessed out of which SUMO1, UBC3, KIAA0101, HDAC2, DAXX, RBBP4, BBS1, NONO, RBBP7, HTRA2, and STUB1 were significantly overexpressed whereas TRAF6 and MTA2 were significantly underexpressed in MPM patients (network 2). Furthermore, Kaplan-Meier analysis revealed that MPM patients with high BBS1 expression had a median overall survival of 16.5 vs. 8.7 mo of those that had low expression. For validation purposes, we performed a meta-analysis in Oncomine database in five sarcoma datasets. Eight network 2 genes (KIAA0101, HDAC2, SUMO1, RBBP4, NONO, RBBP7, HTRA2, and MTA2) were significantly differentially expressed in an array of 18 different sarcoma types. Finally, Gene Ontology annotation enrichment analysis revealed significant roles of the PARK7 interactome in NuRD, CHD, and SWI/SNF protein complexes. In conclusion, we identified 13 novel genes differentially expressed in MPM, never reported before. Among them, BBS1 emerged as a novel predictor of overall survival in MPM. Finally, we identified that PARK7 interactome is involved in novel pathways pertinent in MPM disease.

Zheng T, Chou J, Zhang F, et al.
CXCR4 3'UTR functions as a ceRNA in promoting metastasis, proliferation and survival of MCF-7 cells by regulating miR-146a activity.
Eur J Cell Biol. 2015; 94(10):458-69 [PubMed] Related Publications
CXCR4 is the most common chemokine receptor expressed on tumor cells, and it is closely correlated with cancer cell stemness. This study was carried out to explore whether CXCR4 could function as a competitive endogenous RNA to promote metastasis, proliferation and survival in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. We validated that CXCR4, together with TRAF6 and EGFR, was directly targeted by miR-146a in MCF-7 cells. Overexpression of CXCR4 3'UTR inhibited the activity of miR-146a, thus elevating the expression of CXCR4, TRAF6 and EGFR. These oncoproteins further activated NF-κB pathway and promoted the proliferation, migration, invasion and anti-apoptotic activity of MCF-7 cells. Collectively, our study provided new insights into the function of CXCR4 in breast cancer: it promotes tumor progression as both a protein-coding gene and a non-coding RNA, complicating the mechanism by which oncogenes promote tumor progression.

Lee J, Tian Y, Chan ST, et al.
TNF-α Induced by Hepatitis C Virus via TLR7 and TLR8 in Hepatocytes Supports Interferon Signaling via an Autocrine Mechanism.
PLoS Pathog. 2015; 11(5):e1004937 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Invasion by infectious pathogens can elicit a range of cytokine responses from host cells. These cytokines provide the initial host defense mechanism. In this report, we demonstrate that TNF-α, a pro-inflammatory cytokine, can be induced by hepatitis C virus (HCV) in its host cells in a biphasic manner. The initial induction of TNF-α by HCV was prompt and could be blocked by the antibody directed against the HCV E2 envelope protein and by chemicals that inhibit endocytosis, indicating the specificity of endocytic uptake of HCV in this induction. Further studies indicated that the induction of TNF-α was dependent on toll-like receptors 7 and 8 (TLR7/8) but not on other intracellular pattern recognition receptors. Consistently, siRNA-mediated gene silencing of the downstream effectors in the TLR7/8 signaling pathway including MyD88, IRAK1, TRAF6, TAK1 and p65 NF-κB suppressed the expression of TNF-α. The role of p65 NF-κB in the induction of TNF-α via transcriptional up-regulation was further confirmed by the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. TNF-α induced by HCV could activate its own receptor TNFR1 on hepatocytes to suppress HCV replication. This suppressive effect of TNF-α on HCV was due to its role in supporting interferon signaling, as the suppression of its expression led to the loss of IFNAR2 and impaired interferon signaling and the induction of interferon-stimulated genes. In conclusion, our results indicate that hepatocytes can sense HCV infection via TLR7/8 to induce the expression of TNF-α, which inhibits HCV replication via an autocrine mechanism to support interferon signaling.

Agostini M, Zangrando A, Pastrello C, et al.
A functional biological network centered on XRCC3: a new possible marker of chemoradiotherapy resistance in rectal cancer patients.
Cancer Biol Ther. 2015; 16(8):1160-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Preoperative chemoradiotherapy is widely used to improve local control of disease, sphincter preservation and to improve survival in patients with locally advanced rectal cancer. Patients enrolled in the present study underwent preoperative chemoradiotherapy, followed by surgical excision. Response to chemoradiotherapy was evaluated according to Mandard's Tumor Regression Grade (TRG). TRG 3, 4 and 5 were considered as partial or no response while TRG 1 and 2 as complete response. From pretherapeutic biopsies of 84 locally advanced rectal carcinomas available for the analysis, only 42 of them showed 70% cancer cellularity at least. By determining gene expression profiles, responders and non-responders showed significantly different expression levels for 19 genes (P < 0.001). We fitted a logistic model selected with a stepwise procedure optimizing the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) and then validated by means of leave one out cross validation (LOOCV, accuracy = 95%). Four genes were retained in the achieved model: ZNF160, XRCC3, HFM1 and ASXL2. Real time PCR confirmed that XRCC3 is overexpressed in responders group and HFM1 and ASXL2 showed a positive trend. In vitro test on colon cancer resistant/susceptible to chemoradioterapy cells, finally prove that XRCC3 deregulation is extensively involved in the chemoresistance mechanisms. Protein-protein interactions (PPI) analysis involving the predictive classifier revealed a network of 45 interacting nodes (proteins) with TRAF6 gene playing a keystone role in the network. The present study confirmed the possibility that gene expression profiling combined with integrative computational biology is useful to predict complete responses to preoperative chemoradiotherapy in patients with advanced rectal cancer.

Pan D, Jiang C, Ma Z, et al.
MALT1 is required for EGFR-induced NF-κB activation and contributes to EGFR-driven lung cancer progression.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(7):919-28 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) has been implicated in having a crucial role in the tumorigenesis of many types of human cancers. Although epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) can directly activate NF-κB, the mechanism by which EGFR induces NF-κB activation and the role of NF-κB in EGFR-associated tumor progression is still not fully defined. Herein, we found that mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue 1 (MALT1) is involved in EGFR-induced NF-κB activation in cancer cells, and that MALT1 deficiency impaired EGFR-induced NF-κB activation. MALT1 mainly functions as a scaffold protein by recruiting E3 ligase TRAF6 to IKK complex to activate NF-κB in response to EGF stimulation. Functionally, MALT1 inhibition shows significant defects in EGFR-associated tumor malignancy, including cell migration, metastasis and anchorage-independent growth. To further access a physiological role of MALT1-dependent NF-κB activation in EGFR-driven tumor progression, we generated triple-transgenic mouse model (tetO-EGFR(L858R); CCSP-rtTA; Malt1(-/-)), in which mutant EGFR-driven lung cancer was developed in the absence of MALT1 expression. MALT1-deficient mice show significantly less lung tumor burden when compared with its heterozygous controls, suggesting that MALT1 is required for the progression of EGFR-induced lung cancer. Mechanistically, MALT1 deficiency abolished both NF-κB and STAT3 activation in vivo, which is a result of a defect of interleukin-6 production. In comparison, MALT1 deficiency does not affect tumor progression in a mouse model (LSL-K-ras(G12D); CCSP-Cre; Malt1(-/-)) in which lung cancer is induced by expressing a K-ras mutant. Thus, our study has provided the cellular and genetic evidence that suggests MALT1-dependent NF-κB activation is important in EGFR-associated solid-tumor progression.

Liu R, Liu C, Chen D, et al.
FOXP3 Controls an miR-146/NF-κB Negative Feedback Loop That Inhibits Apoptosis in Breast Cancer Cells.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(8):1703-13 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
FOXP3 functions not only as the master regulator in regulatory T cells, but also as an X-linked tumor suppressor. The tumor-suppressive activity of FOXP3 has been observed in tumor initiation, but its role during tumor progression remains controversial. Moreover, the mechanism of FOXP3-mediated tumor-suppressive activity remains largely unknown. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing, we identified a series of potential FOXP3-targeted miRNAs in MCF7 cells. Notably, FOXP3 significantly induced the expression of miR-146a/b. In vitro, FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b prevented tumor cell proliferation and enhanced apoptosis. Functional analyses in vitro and in vivo revealed that FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b negatively regulates NF-κB activation by inhibiting the expression of IRAK1 and TRAF6. In ChIP assays, FOXP3 directly bound the promoter region of miR-146a but not of miR-146b, and FOXP3 interacted directly with NF-κB p65 to regulate an miR-146-NF-κB negative feedback regulation loop in normal breast epithelial and tumor cells, as demonstrated with luciferase reporter assays. Although FOXP3 significantly inhibited breast tumor growth and migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo, FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b contributed only to the inhibition of breast tumor growth. These data suggest that miR-146a/b contributes to FOXP3-mediated tumor suppression during tumor growth by triggering apoptosis. The identification of a FOXP3-miR-146-NF-κB axis provides an underlying mechanism for disruption of miR-146 family member expression and constitutive NF-κB activation in breast cancer cells. Linking the tumor suppressor function of FOXP3 to NF-κB activation reveals a potential therapeutic approach for cancers with FOXP3 defects.

Liu R, Yi B, Wei S, et al.
FOXP3-miR-146-NF-κB Axis and Therapy for Precancerous Lesions in Prostate.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(8):1714-24 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The tumor-suppressive activity of FOXP3 has been observed in tumor initiation, but the underlying mechanism still remains largely unknown. Here, we identified a FOXP3-microRNA-146 (miR-146)-NF-κB axis in vitro and in vivo in prostate cancer cells. We observed that FOXP3 dramatically induced the expression of miR-146a/b, which contributed to transcriptional inhibition of IRAK1 and TRAF6, in prostate cancer cell lines. Tissue-specific deletion of Foxp3 in mouse prostate caused a significant reduction of miR-146a and upregulation of NF-κB activation. In addition, prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia lesions were observed in miR-146a-mutant mice as well as in Foxp3-mutant mice. Notably, the NF-κB inhibitor bortezomib inhibited cell proliferation and induced apoptosis in prostate epithelial cells, attenuating prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia formation in Foxp3-mutant mice. Our data suggest that the FOXP3-miR-146-NF-κB axis has a functional role during tumor initiation in prostate cancer. Targeting the miR-146-NF-κB axis may provide a new therapeutic approach for prostate cancers with FOXP3 defects.

Kim SR, Kim JO, Lim KH, et al.
Regulation of pyruvate kinase isozyme M2 is mediated by the ubiquitin-specific protease 20.
Int J Oncol. 2015; 46(5):2116-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
USP20, one of deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) belonging to the subfamily of ubiquitin-specific protease (USP), regulates ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation. So far, USP20 has been identified as a binding protein and a regulator of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α, β-adrenergic receptor, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6). In order to investigate other biological functions of USP20 with its novel substrates, we searched for putative substrates through two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE) and matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/MS) analysis. We found several putative substrates, some of which are related to cancer metabolism or neural disorders. Among these, the pyruvate kinase isoenzyme M2 (PKM2) had a high identity score. Most cancer cells contain a specific metabolic pathway, referred to as the Warburg effect. One well-known function of PKM2 is a main regulator in cancer metabolic pathways, and PKM2 promotes the Warburg effect and tumor growth. In addition, both PKM2 and HIF-1α upregulate the expression of target genes. From this evidence, it is expected that USP20 would be associated with the metabolic pathway through the regulation of PKM2 ubiquitination. Despite various roles of DUBs, the biological functions of USP20 in cellular mechanisms are poorly understood. Herein, we investigated the inter-action between PKM2 and USP20. Our results suggest a new molecular pathway in cancer metabolism through the regulation of PKM2.

Takahashi H, Jin C, Rajabi H, et al.
MUC1-C activates the TAK1 inflammatory pathway in colon cancer.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(40):5187-97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The mucin 1 (MUC1) oncoprotein has been linked to the inflammatory response by promoting cytokine-mediated activation of the NF-κB pathway. The TGF-β-activated kinase 1 (TAK1) is an essential effector of proinflammatory NF-κB signaling that also regulates cancer cell survival. The present studies demonstrate that the MUC1-C transmembrane subunit induces TAK1 expression in colon cancer cells. MUC1 also induces TAK1 in a MUC1(+/-)/IL-10(-/-) mouse model of colitis and colon tumorigenesis. We show that MUC1-C promotes NF-κB-mediated activation of TAK1 transcription and, in a positive regulatory loop, MUC1-C contributes to TAK1-induced NF-κB signaling. In this way, MUC1-C binds directly to TAK1 and confers the association of TAK1 with TRAF6, which is necessary for TAK1-mediated activation of NF-κB. Targeting MUC1-C thus suppresses the TAK1NF-κB pathway, downregulates BCL-XL and in turn sensitizes colon cancer cells to MEK inhibition. Analysis of colon cancer databases further indicates that MUC1, TAK1 and TRAF6 are upregulated in tumors associated with decreased survival and that MUC1-C-induced gene expression patterns predict poor outcomes in patients. These results support a model in which MUC1-C-induced TAK1NF-κB signaling contributes to intestinal inflammation and colon cancer progression.

Sundar R, Gudey SK, Heldin CH, Landström M
TRAF6 promotes TGFβ-induced invasion and cell-cycle regulation via Lys63-linked polyubiquitination of Lys178 in TGFβ type I receptor.
Cell Cycle. 2015; 14(4):554-65 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) can act either as a tumor promoter or a tumor suppressor in a context-dependent manner. High levels of TGFβ are found in prostate cancer tissues and correlate with poor patient prognosis. We recently identified a novel TGFβ-regulated signaling cascade in which TGFβ type I receptor (TβRI) is activated by the E3 ligase TNF-receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) via the Lys63-linked polyubiquitination of TβRI. TRAF6 also contributes to activation of TNF-α-converting enzyme and presenilin-1, resulting in the proteolytic cleavage of TβRI and releasing the intracellular domain of TβRI, which is translocated to the nucleus to promote tumor invasiveness. In this report, we provide evidence that Lys178 of TβRI is polyubiquitinated by TRAF6. Moreover, our data suggest that TRAF6-mediated Lys63-linked ubiquitination of the TβRI intracellular domain is a prerequisite for TGFβ regulation of mRNA for cyclin D1 (CCND1), expression, as well as for the regulation of other genes controlling the cell cycle, differentiation, and invasiveness of prostate cancer cells.

Zhang XL, Dang YW, Li P, et al.
Expression of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 in lung cancer tissues.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2014; 15(24):10591-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) has been reported to be associated with the development of various cancers. However, the role of TRAF6 in lung cancer remains unclear.
OBJECTIVE: To explore the expression and clinicopathological significance of TRAF6 protein in lung cancer tissues.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three hundred and sixty-five lung cancer samples and thirty normal lung tissues were constructed into 3 microarrays. The expression of TRAF6 protein was determined using immunohistochemistry (IHC). Furthermore, correlations between the expression of TRAF6 and clinicopathological parameters were investigated.
RESULTS: The expression of TRAF6 in total lung cancer tissues (365 cases), as well as in small cell lung cancer (SCLC, 26 cases) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC, 339 cases) was significantly higher compared with that in normal lung tissues. The ROC curve showed that the area under curve of TRAF6 was 0.663 (95%CI 0.570~0.756) for lung cancer. The diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of TRAF6 were 52.6% and 80%, respectively. In addition, the expression of TRAF6 was correlated with clinical TNM stage, tumor size and lymph node metastasis in all lung cancers. Consistent correlations were also observed for NSCLCs.
CONCLUSIONS: TRAF6 might be an oncogene and the expression of TRAF6 protein is related to the progression of lung cancer. Thus, TRAF6 might become a target for diagnosis and gene therapy for lung cancer patients.

Sarkar D, Leung EY, Baguley BC, et al.
Epigenetic regulation in human melanoma: past and future.
Epigenetics. 2015; 10(2):103-21 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The development and progression of melanoma have been attributed to independent or combined genetic and epigenetic events. There has been remarkable progress in understanding melanoma pathogenesis in terms of genetic alterations. However, recent studies have revealed a complex involvement of epigenetic mechanisms in the regulation of gene expression, including methylation, chromatin modification and remodeling, and the diverse activities of non-coding RNAs. The roles of gene methylation and miRNAs have been relatively well studied in melanoma, but other studies have shown that changes in chromatin status and in the differential expression of long non-coding RNAs can lead to altered regulation of key genes. Taken together, they affect the functioning of signaling pathways that influence each other, intersect, and form networks in which local perturbations disturb the activity of the whole system. Here, we focus on how epigenetic events intertwine with these pathways and contribute to the molecular pathogenesis of melanoma.

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.

Thakur N, Gudey SK, Marcusson A, et al.
TGFβ-induced invasion of prostate cancer cells is promoted by c-Jun-dependent transcriptional activation of Snail1.
Cell Cycle. 2014; 13(15):2400-14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
High levels of transforming growth factor-β (TGFβ) correlate with poor prognosis for patients with prostate cancer and other cancers. TGFβ is a multifunctional cytokine and crucial regulator of cell fate, such as epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), which is implicated in cancer invasion and progression. TGFβ conveys its signals upon binding to type I and type II serine/threonine kinase receptors (TβRI/II); phosphorylation of Smad2 and Smad3 promotes their association with Smad4, which regulates expression of targets genes, such as Smad7, p21, and c-Jun. TGFβ also activates the ubiquitin ligase tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6), which associates with TβRI and activates the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. Snail1 is a key transcription factor, induced by TGFβ that promotes migration and invasion of cancer cells. In this study, we have identified a novel binding site for c-Jun in the promoter of the Snail1 gene and report that the activation of the TGFβ-TRAF6-p38 MAPK pathway promotes both c-Jun expression and its activation via p38α-dependent phosphorylation of c-Jun at Ser63. The TRAF6-dependent activation of p38 also leads to increased stability of c-Jun, due to p38-dependent inactivation of glycogen synthase kinase (GSK) 3β by phosphorylation at Ser9. Thus, our findings elucidate a novel role for the p38 MAPK pathway in stimulated cells, leading to activation of c-Jun and its binding to the promoter of Snail1, thereby triggering motility and invasiveness of aggressive human prostate cancer cells.

Choi YB, Harhaj EW
HTLV-1 tax stabilizes MCL-1 via TRAF6-dependent K63-linked polyubiquitination to promote cell survival and transformation.
PLoS Pathog. 2014; 10(10):e1004458 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) Tax protein hijacks the host ubiquitin machinery to activate IκB kinases (IKKs) and NF-κB and promote cell survival; however, the key ubiquitinated factors downstream of Tax involved in cell transformation are unknown. Using mass spectrometry, we undertook an unbiased proteome-wide quantitative survey of cellular proteins modified by ubiquitin in the presence of Tax or a Tax mutant impaired in IKK activation. Tax induced the ubiquitination of 22 cellular proteins, including the anti-apoptotic BCL-2 family member MCL-1, in an IKK-dependent manner. Tax was found to promote the nondegradative lysine 63 (K63)-linked polyubiquitination of MCL-1 that was dependent on the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRAF6 and the IKK complex. Tax interacted with and activated TRAF6, and triggered its mitochondrial localization, where it conjugated four carboxyl-terminal lysine residues of MCL-1 with K63-linked polyubiquitin chains, which stabilized and protected MCL-1 from genotoxic stress-induced degradation. TRAF6 and MCL-1 played essential roles in the survival of HTLV-1 transformed cells and the immortalization of primary T cells by HTLV-1. Therefore, K63-linked polyubiquitination represents a novel regulatory mechanism controlling MCL-1 stability that has been usurped by a viral oncogene to precipitate cell survival and transformation.

Rong Y, Wang D, Wu W, et al.
TRAF6 is over-expressed in pancreatic cancer and promotes the tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(11):260 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal malignancies, with a poor response to chemotherapy and therefore it is important to identify novel therapeutic targets. TNF receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) , a regulator of NF-κB signaling, has been found recently to be involved in tumorigenesis. However, its function in pancreatic cancer remains poorly understood. Here, we found that the expression of TRAF6 was up-regulated in pancreatic cancer tissues. Moreover, over-expression of TRAF6 in pancreatic cancer cells promoted cell proliferation and migration, whereas down-regulation of TRAF6 impaired the tumorigenicity of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, TRAF6 regulated the expression of multiple genes involved in cell growth, apoptosis and migration. Our results suggested several important roles of TRAF6 in the pathogenesis of pancreatic cancer. TRAF6 might therefore represent a potential therapeutic target.

Chen H, Fang Y, Zhu H, et al.
Protein-protein interaction analysis of distinct molecular pathways in two subtypes of colorectal carcinoma.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 10(6):2868-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The aim of this study was to identify the molecular events that distinguish serrated colorectal carcinoma (SCRC) from conventional colorectal carcinoma (CCRC) through differential gene expression, pathway and protein-protein interaction (PPI) network analysis. The GSE4045 and GSE8671 microarray datasets were downloaded from the Gene Expression Omnibus database. We identified the genes that are differentially expressed between SCRC and normal colon tissues, CCRC and healthy tissues, and between SCRC and CCRC using Student's t-tests and Benjamini‑Hochberg (BH) multiple testing corrections. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were then mapped to Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways and their enrichment for specific pathways was investigated using the Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery (DAVID) tool with a significance threshold of 0.1. Analysis of the potential interactions between the protein products of 220 DEGs (between CCRC and SCRC) was performed by constructing a PPI network using data from the high performance RDF database (P<0.1). The interaction between pathways was also analyzed in CCRC based on the PPI network. Our study identified thousands of genes differentially expressed in SCRC and CCRC compared to healthy tissues. The DEGs in SCRC and CCRC were enriched in cell cycle, DNA replication, and base excision repair pathways. The proteasome pathway was significantly enriched in SCRC but not in CCRC after BH adjustment. The PPI network showed that tumour necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and atrophin 1 (ATN1) were the most central genes in the network, with respective degrees of node predicted at 90 and 88. In conclusion, the preoteasome pathway was shown to be specifically enriched in SCRC. Furthermore, TRAF6 and ATN1 may be promising biomarkers for the distinction between serrated and conventional CRC.

Fang J, Barker B, Bolanos L, et al.
Myeloid malignancies with chromosome 5q deletions acquire a dependency on an intrachromosomal NF-κB gene network.
Cell Rep. 2014; 8(5):1328-38 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chromosome 5q deletions (del[5q]) are common in high-risk (HR) myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML); however, the gene regulatory networks that sustain these aggressive diseases are unknown. Reduced miR-146a expression in del(5q) HR MDS/AML and miR-146a(-/-) hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) results in TRAF6/NF-κB activation. Increased survival and proliferation of HSPCs from miR-146a(low) HR MDS/AML is sustained by a neighboring haploid gene, SQSTM1 (p62), expressed from the intact 5q allele. Overexpression of p62 from the intact allele occurs through NF-κB-dependent feedforward signaling mediated by miR-146a deficiency. p62 is necessary for TRAF6-mediated NF-κB signaling, as disrupting the p62-TRAF6 signaling complex results in cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis of MDS/AML cells. Thus, del(5q) HR MDS/AML employs an intrachromosomal gene network involving loss of miR-146a and haploid overexpression of p62 via NF-κB to sustain TRAF6/NF-κB signaling for cell survival and proliferation. Interfering with the p62-TRAF6 signaling complex represents a therapeutic option in miR-146a-deficient and aggressive del(5q) MDS/AML.

Wang Y, Sun C, Li T, et al.
Integrative approach detected association between genetic variants of microRNA binding sites of TLRs pathway genes and OSCC susceptibility in Chinese Han population.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(7):e101695 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is a leading malignancy worldwide; the overall 5-year survival rate is approximately 50%. A variety of proteins in Toll-like receptors (TLRs) pathway have been related with the risk of OSCC. However, the influence of genetic variations in TLRs pathway genes on OSCC susceptibility is unclear. Previous studies mainly focused on the coding region of genes, while the UTR region remains unstudied. In the current study, a bioinformatics approach was performed to select candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on microRNA binding sites of TLRs pathway genes related with OSCC. After screening 90 OSCC related TLRs pathway genes, 16 SNPs were selected for genotyping. We found that rs5030486, the polymorphisms on 3' UTR of TRAF6, was significantly associated with OSCC risk. AG genotype of TRAF6 was strongly associated with a decreased risk of OSCC (OR = 0.252; 95% CI = 0.106, 0.598; p = 0.001). In addition, AG genotype was also related with a reduced risk of OSCC progression both in univariable analysis (HR = 0.303, 95% CI = 0.092, 0.995) and multivariable analysis (HR = 0.272, 95% CI = 0.082, 0.903). Furthermore, after detecting the mRNA expression level of TRAF6 in 24 OSCC patients, we found that TRAF6 expression level was significantly different between patients carrying different genotypes at locus rs5030486 (p = 0.013), indicating that rs5030486 of TRAF6 might contribute to OSCC risk by altering TRAF6 expression level. In general, these data indicated that SNP rs5030486 could be a potential bio-marker for OSCC risk and our results might provide new insights into the association of polymorphisms within the non-coding area of genes with cancers.

Kobayashi T, Masoumi KC, Massoumi R
Deubiquitinating activity of CYLD is impaired by SUMOylation in neuroblastoma cells.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(17):2251-60 [PubMed] Related Publications
CYLD is a deubiquitinating (DUB) enzyme that has a pivotal role in modulating nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) signaling pathways by removing the lysine 63- and linear-linked ubiquitin chain from substrates such as tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2) and TRAF6. Loss of CYLD activity is associated with tumorigenicity, and levels of CYLD are lost or downregulated in different types of human tumors. In the present study, we found that high CYLD expression was associated with better overall survival and relapse-free neuroblastoma patient outcome, as well as inversely correlated with the stage of neuroblastoma. Retinoic acid-mediated differentiation of neuroblastoma restored CYLD expression and promoted SUMOylation of CYLD. This posttranslational modification inhibited deubiquitinase activity of CYLD against TRAF2 and TRAF6 and facilitated NF-κB signaling. Overexpression of non-SUMOylatable mutant CYLD in neuroblastoma cells reduced retinoic acid-induced NF-κB activation and differentiation of cells, but instead promoted cell death.

Sun H, Li X, Fan L, et al.
TRAF6 is upregulated in colon cancer and promotes proliferation of colon cancer cells.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2014; 53:195-201 [PubMed] Related Publications
TNF receptor associated factor 6 (TRAF6) plays a critical role in the regulation of innate immune responses and adaptive immune responses. Though recent studies indicate that TRAF6 is involved in cancer, its precise role in cancer including colon cancer has not been extensively investigated and remains largely unknown. The purpose of this work is to determine the expression of TRAF6 in colon cancer as well as the possible role of it in proliferation and apoptosis of colon cancer cells. Fifty colon cancer tissues paired with their adjacent non-cancerous tissues were analyzed. TRAF6 expression is upregulated in cancers (P=0.000), which is correlated with tumor grades (P=0.012). The tumor tissue-array analysis also indicates that expression of TRAF6 is upregulated in colon cancer (P=0.000), but the TRAF6 upregulation has no association with patients' survival rate (P=0.055). We found that knockdown of TRAF6 blocks proliferation of colon cancer cells through cyclin D1. Different from other reports, in our experiments knockdown of TRAF6 alone has little effect on survival of colon cancer cells examined. Knockdown of TRAF6 sensitizes the cells to treatment of the conventional anti-cancer drugs 5-fluorouracil and etoposide. Thus, inhibition of TRAF6 may improve the therapeutic treatment of these drugs. Together, our data suggest that TRAF6 promotes proliferation of colon cancer cells and it may serve as a potential target for therapy of colon cancer.

Natarajan V, Komarov AP, Ippolito T, et al.
Peptides genetically selected for NF-κB activation cooperate with oncogene Ras and model carcinogenic role of inflammation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(4):E474-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Chronic inflammation is associated with increased cancer risk. Furthermore, the transcription factor NF-κB, a central regulator of inflammatory responses, is constitutively active in most tumors. To determine whether active NF-κB inherently contributes to malignant transformation, we isolated a set of NF-κB-activating genetic elements and tested their oncogenic potential in rodent cell transformation models. Genetic elements with desired properties were isolated using biologically active selectable peptide technology, which involves functional screening of lentiviral libraries encoding 20 or 50 amino acid-long polypeptides supplemented with endoplasmic reticulum-targeting and oligomerization domains. Twelve NF-κB-activating selectable peptides (NASPs) representing specific fragments of six proteins, none of which was previously associated with NF-κB activation, were isolated from libraries of 200,000 peptides derived from 500 human extracellular proteins. Using selective knockdown of distinct components of the NF-κB pathway, we showed that the isolated NASPs act either via or upstream of TNF receptor-associated factor 6. Transduction of NASPs into mouse and rat embryo fibroblasts did not, in itself, alter their growth. However, when coexpressed with oncogenic Ras (H-Ras(V12)), NASPs allowed rodent fibroblasts to overcome H-Ras(V12)-mediated p53-dependent senescence and acquire a transformed tumorigenic phenotype. Consistent with their ability to cooperate with oncogenic Ras in cell transformation, NASP expression reduced the transactivation activity of p53. This system provides an in vitro model of NF-κB-driven carcinogenesis and suggests that the known carcinogenic effects of inflammation may be at least partially due to NF-κB-mediated abrogation of oncogene-induced senescence.

Giovannetti E, Giaccone G
CYB5A and autophagy-mediated cell death in pancreatic cancer.
Autophagy. 2014; 10(4):697-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The highly invasive and chemoresistant phenotype of pancreatic cancer highlights the urgency to identify prognostic biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets. Recently, we observed a significant correlation between shorter survival and loss of the cytoband 18q22.3. Here we investigated genes encoded by this cytoband, and demonstrated the prognostic value of CYB5A in resected and metastatic patients. Furthermore, our in vitro and in vivo studies clarified CYB5A inhibitory activity of oncogenic phenotypes through autophagy induction. This raises the possibility that inhibition of CYB5A-deregulated downstream pathways, such as those involving TRAF6, may favor autophagy-mediated cancer cell death in selected subgroups of patients.

Zhan Z, Xie X, Cao H, et al.
Autophagy facilitates TLR4- and TLR3-triggered migration and invasion of lung cancer cells through the promotion of TRAF6 ubiquitination.
Autophagy. 2014; 10(2):257-68 [PubMed] Related Publications
Autophagy contributes to the pathogenesis of cancer, whereas toll-like receptors (TLRs) also play an important role in cancer development and immune escape. However, little is known about the potential interaction between TLR signaling and autophagy in cancer cells. Here we show that autophagy induced by TLR4 or TLR3 activation enhances various cytokine productions through promoting TRAF6 (TNF receptor-associated factor 6, E3 ubiquitin protein ligase) ubiquitination and thus facilitates migration and invasion of lung cancer cells. Stimulation of TLR4 and TLR3 with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid [poly(I:C)] respectively triggered autophagy in lung cancer cells. This was mediated by the adaptor protein, toll-like receptor adaptor molecule 1 (TICAM1/TRIF), and was required for TLR4- and TLR3-induced increases in the production of IL6, CCL2/MCP-1 [chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2], CCL20/MIP-3α [chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 20], VEGFA (vascular endothelial growth factor A), and MMP2 [matrix metallopeptidase 2 (gelatinase A, 72 kDa gelatinase, 72 kDa type IV collagenase)]. These cytokines appeared to be necessary for enhanced migration and invasion of lung cancer cells upon TLR activation. Remarkably, inhibition of autophagy by chemical or genetic approaches blocked TLR4- or TLR3-induced Lys63 (K63)-linked ubiquitination of TRAF6 that was essential for activation of MAPK and NFKB (nuclear factor of kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B-cells) pathways, both of which were involved in the increased production of the cytokines. Collectively, these results identify induction of autophagy by TLR4 and TLR3 as an important mechanism that drives lung cancer progression, and indicate that inhibition of autophagy may be a useful strategy in the treatment of lung cancer.

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