Role of IκB kinase β in inflammation-mediated breast cancer development

Dung-Fang Lee, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Breast cancer is the second most common farm of cancers and the second leading cause of cancer death for American women. Clinical studies indicate inflammation is a risk factor for breast cancer development. Among the cytokines and chemokines secreted by the infiltrating inflammatory cells, tumor necrosis factor a (TNFα) is considered one of the most important inflammatory factors involved in inflammation-mediated tumorigenesis. Here we found that TNFα/IKKβ signaling pathway is able to increase tumor angiogenesis through activation of mTOR pathway. While investigating which molecule in the mTOR pathway involved in TNFα/IKKβ-mediated mTOR activation, our results showed that IKKβ physically interacts with and phosphorylates TSC1 at Ser487 and Ser511 in vitro and in vivo. Phosphorylation of TSC1 by IKKβ inhibits its association with TSC2, alters TSC2 membrane localization, and thereby activates mTOR. In vitro angiogenesis assays and orthotopic breast cancer model reveals that phosphorylation of TSC1 by IKKβ enhances VEGF expression, angiogenesis and culminates in tumorigenesis. Furthermore, expression of activated IKKβ is associated with TSC1 Ser511 phosphorylation and VEGF production in multiple tumor types and correlates with poor clinical outcome of breast cancer patients. Furthermore, dysregulation of tumor suppressor FOXO3a contributes to the development of breast cancer. We found that overexpression of IKKβ led to inhibition of FOXO3a-mediated transactivation activity. While investigating the underlying mechanisms of IKKβ-mediated dysregulation of FOXO3a, our results showed that IKKβ physically associated with FOXO3a and phosphorylated FOXO3a at Ser644 in vitro and in vivo. The phosphorylation of FOXO3a by IKKβ altered its subcellular localization from nucleus to cytoplasm and promoted its degradation through ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Mutation of FOXO3a at Ser644 prevented IKKβ-induced ubiquitination and degradation. In vitro cell proliferation assay and orthotopic breast cancer model revealed that phosphorylation of FOXO3a by IKKβ overrode FOXO3a-mediated repression of tumor progression. In conclusion, our findings identify IKKβ-mediated suppressions of both TSC1 and FOXO3a are critical for inflammation-mediated breast cancer development through increasing tumor angiogenesis and evading apoptosis, respectively. Understanding the role of IKKβ in both FOXO3a and TSC/mTOR signaling pathways provides a critical insight of inflammation-mediated diseases and may provide a target for clinical intervention in human breast cancer.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Lee, Dung-Fang, "Role of IκB kinase β in inflammation-mediated breast cancer development" (2008). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3305164.