Send to

Choose Destination
Cancer Res. 2010 Jun 15;70(12):4961-71. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-09-3349. Epub 2010 Jun 8.

Direct inhibition of elastase activity by indole-3-carbinol triggers a CD40-TRAF regulatory cascade that disrupts NF-kappaB transcriptional activity in human breast cancer cells.

Author information

Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, California 94720-3200, USA.


Treatment of highly tumorigenic MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells with indole-3-carbinol (I3C) directly inhibited the extracellular elastase-dependent cleavage of membrane-associated CD40, a member of the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor superfamily. CD40 signaling has been implicated in regulating cell survival, apoptosis, and proliferation, as well as in sensitizing breast cancer cells to chemotherapy, and is therefore an important potential target of novel breast cancer treatments. The I3C-dependent accumulation of full-length unprocessed CD40 protein caused a shift in CD40 signaling through TNF receptor-associated factors (TRAF), including the TRAF1/TRAF2 positive regulators and TRAF3 negative regulator of NF-kappaB transcription factor activity. Because TRAF1 is a transcriptional target gene of NF-kappaB, I3C disrupted a positive feedback loop involving these critical cell survival components. siRNA ablation of elastase expression mimicked the I3C inhibition of CD40 protein processing and G(1) cell cycle arrest, whereas siRNA knockdown of TRAF3 and the NF-kappaB inhibitor IkappaB prevented the I3C-induced cell cycle arrest. In contrast, siRNA knockdown of PTEN had no effect on the I3C control of NF-kappaB activity, showing the importance of CD40 signaling in regulating this transcription factor. Our study provides the first direct in vitro evidence that I3C directly inhibits the elastase-mediated proteolytic processing of CD40, which alters downstream signaling to disrupt NF-kappaB-induced cell survival and proliferative responses. Furthermore, we have established a new I3C-mediated antiproliferative cascade that has significant therapeutic potential for treatment of human cancers associated with high levels of elastase and its CD40 membrane substrate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center