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Cancer Cell. 2013 May 13;23(5):647-59. doi: 10.1016/j.ccr.2013.03.012. Epub 2013 Apr 18.

A NIK-IKKα module expands ErbB2-induced tumor-initiating cells by stimulating nuclear export of p27/Kip1.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Laboratory of Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, School of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0723, USA.


IκB kinase α (IKKα) activity is required for ErbB2-induced mammary tumorigenesis. Here, we show that IKKα and its activator, NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK), support the expansion of tumor-initiating cells (TICs) that copurify with a CD24(med)CD49f(hi) population from premalignant ErbB2-expressing mammary glands. Upon activation, IKKα enters the nucleus, phosphorylates the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p27/Kip1, and stimulates its nuclear export or exclusion. Reduced p27 expression rescues mammary tumorigenesis in mice deficient in IKKα kinase activity and restores TIC self-renewal. IKKα is also likely to be involved in human breast cancer, where its expression shows an inverse correlation with metastasis-free survival, and its presence in the nucleus of invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs) is associated with decreased nuclear p27 abundance.

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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