Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) are two representative transcription factors that play a critical role in inflammation-associated tumorigenesis through multi-level cooperation. Unlike other types of tumors, breast carcinomas have shown a significant dependency on the non-classical NF-κB pathway as well as the classical one. The α subunit of the inhibitor of the κB kinase (IKK) complex, IKKα, is involved in both classical and non-classical activation of NF-κB. Although the cross-talk between STAT3 and NF-κB has been suggested in several studies, the interplay between STAT3 and the regulators of NF-κB including IKKα has not been fully clarified yet. In this study, we observed overexpression and co-localization of IKKα and STAT3 in human breast cancer tissues as well as in H-Ras transformed human breast epithelial (H-Ras MCF-10A) and breast cancer (MDA-MB-231) cells. By utilizing small interfering RNA (siRNA) technology, we were able to demonstrate that STAT3 up-regulated IKKα, but not IKKβ or IKKγ, in these cells. This was attributable to direct binding to and subsequent stabilization of IKKα protein by blocking the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Notably, we identified the lysine 44 residue of IKKα as a putative binding site for STAT3. Moreover, siRNA knockdown of IKKα attenuated viability, anchorage-independent growth and migratory capabilities of H-Ras MCF-10A cells. Taken together, these findings propose a novel mechanism responsible for NF-κB activation by STAT3 through stabilization of IKKα, which contributes to breast cancer promotion and progression. Thus, breaking the STAT3-IKKα alliance can be an alternative therapeutic strategy for the treatment of breast cancer.
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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research