Nuclear NF-kappaB p65 phosphorylation at serine 276 by protein kinase A contributes to the malignant phenotype of head and neck cancer.

Arun P, Brown MS, Ehsanian R, Chen Z, Van Waes C
Associated Labs:
Dan Rockey Laboratory (National Institute of Health)
Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Oct 1. 15(19):5974-84.
PMID: 19789307
PURPOSE: Aberrant nuclear activation and phosphorylation of the canonical NF-kappaB subunit RELA/p65 at Serine-536 by inhibitor kappaB kinase is prevalent in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), but the role of other kinases in NF-kappaB activation has not been well defined. Here, we investigated the prevalence and function of p65-Ser276 phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA) in the malignant phenotype and gene transactivation, and studied p65-Ser276 as a potential target for therapy. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Phospho and total p65 protein expression and localization were determined in HNSCC tissue array and in cell lines. The effects of the PKA inhibitor H-89 on NF-kappaB activation, downstream gene expression, cell proliferation and cell cycle were examined. Knockdown of PKA by specific siRNA confirmed the specificity. RESULTS: NF-kappaB p65 phosphorylated at Ser276 was prevalent in HNSCC and adjacent dysplastic mucosa, but localized to the cytoplasm in normal mucosa. In HNSCC lines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) significantly increased, whereas H-89 inhibited constitutive and TNF-alpha-induced nuclear p65 (Ser276) phosphorylation, and significantly suppressed NF-kappaB and target gene IL-8 reporter activity. Knockdown of PKA by small interfering RNA inhibited NF-kappaB, IL-8, and BCL-XL reporter gene activities. H-89 suppressed cell proliferation, induced cell death, and blocked the cell cycle in G(1)-S phase. Consistent with its biological effects, H-89 down-modulated expression of NF-kappaB-related genes Cyclin D1, BCL2, BCL-XL, COX2, IL-8, and VEGF, as well as induced cell cycle inhibitor p21(CIP1/WAF1), while suppressing proliferative marker Ki67. CONCLUSIONS: NF-kappaB p65 (Ser276) phosphorylation by PKA promotes the malignant phenotype and holds potential as a therapeutic target in HNSCC.

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