Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Feb;23(3):1061-74.

Inhibition of IkappaB kinase by a new class of retinoid-related anticancer agents that induce apoptosis.

Author information

  • 1Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Department of Pharmacology, University of California-San Diego School of Medicine, San Diego, California, USA.


The transcription factor NF-kappaB is overexpressed or constitutively activated in many cancer cells, where it induces expression of antiapoptotic genes correlating with resistance to anticancer therapies. Small molecules that inhibit the NF-kappaB signaling pathway could therefore be used to induce apoptosis in NF-kappaB-overexpressing tumors and potentially serve as anticancer agents. We found that retinoid antagonist MX781 inhibited the activation of NF-kappaB-dependent transcriptional activity in different tumor cell lines. MX781 was able to completely inhibit tumor necrosis factor alpha-mediated activation of IkappaB kinase (IKK), the upstream regulator of NF-kappaB. Inhibition of IKK activity resulted from direct binding of MX781 to the kinase, as demonstrated by in vitro inhibition studies. Two other molecules, MX3350-1 and CD2325, which are retinoic acid receptor gamma-selective agonists, were capable of inhibiting IKK in vitro, although they exerted variable inhibition of IKK and NF-kappaB activities in intact cells in a cell type-specific manner. However, N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-retinamide, another apoptosis-inducing retinoid, and retinoic acid as well as other nonapoptotic retinoids did not inhibit IKK. Inhibition of IKK by the retinoid-related compounds and other small molecules correlated with reduced cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. Reduced cell viability was also observed after overexpression of an IKKbeta kinase-dead mutant or the IkappaBalpha superrepressor. The induction of apoptosis by the retinoid-related molecules that inhibited IKK was dependent on caspase activity but independent of the retinoid receptors. Thus, the presence of an excess of retinoic acid or a retinoid antagonist did not prevent the inhibition of IKK activation by MX781 and CD2325, indicating a retinoid receptor-independent mechanism of action.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk