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J Biol Chem. 2012 Oct 26;287(44):37570-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.398925. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Activation of nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) in prostate cancer is mediated by protein kinase C epsilon (PKCepsilon).

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


Protein kinase C ε (PKCε) has emerged as an oncogenic kinase and plays important roles in cell survival, mitogenesis and invasion. PKCε is up-regulated in most epithelial cancers, including prostate, breast, and lung cancer. Here we report that PKCε is an essential mediator of NF-κB activation in prostate cancer cells. A strong correlation exists between PKCε overexpression and NF-κB activation status in prostate cancer cells. Moreover, transgenic overexpression of PKCε in the mouse prostate causes preneoplastic lesions that display significant NF-κB hyperactivation. PKCε RNAi depletion or inhibition in prostate cancer cells diminishes NF-κB translocation to the nucleus with subsequent impairment of both activation of NF-κB transcription and induction of NF-κB responsive genes in response to the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). On the other hand, PKCε overexpression in normal prostate cells enhances activation of the NF-κB pathway. A mechanistic analysis revealed that TNFα activates PKCε via a C1 domain/diacylglycerol-dependent mechanism that involves phosphatidylcholine-phospholipase C. Moreover, PKCε facilitates the assembly of the TNF receptor-I signaling complex to trigger NF-κB activation. Our studies identified a molecular link between PKCε and NF-κB that controls key responses implicated in prostate cancer progression.

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