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While many studies have demonstrated that canonical NF-κB signaling is a central pathway in lung tumorigenesis, the role of non-canonical NF-κB signaling in lung cancer remains undefined. We observed frequent nuclear accumulation of the non-canonical NF-κB component p100/p52 in human lung adenocarcinoma. To investigate the impact of non-canonical NF-κB signaling on lung carcinogenesis, we employed transgenic mice with doxycycline-inducible expression of p52 in airway epithelial cells. p52 over-expression led to increased tumor number and progression after injection of the carcinogen urethane. Gene expression analysis of lungs from transgenic mice combined with in vitro studies suggested that p52 promotes proliferation of lung epithelial cells through regulation of cell cycle-associated genes. Using gene expression and patient information from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) database, we found that expression of p52-associated genes was increased in lung adenocarcinomas and correlated with reduced survival, even in early stage disease. Analysis of p52-associated gene expression in additional human lung adenocarcinoma datasets corroborated these findings. Together, these studies implicate the non-canonical NF-κB component p52 in lung carcinogenesis and suggest modulation of p52 activity and/or downstream mediators as new therapeutic targets.
Although numerous studies have demonstrated a critical role for canonical NF-κB signaling in inflammation and disease, the function of the noncanonical NF-κB pathway remains ill-defined. In lung tissue from patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, we identified increased expression of the noncanonical pathway component p100/p52. To investigate the effects of p52 expression in vivo, we generated a novel transgenic mouse model with inducible expression of p52 in Clara cell secretory protein-expressing airway epithelial cells. Although p52 overexpression alone did not cause significant inflammation, p52 overexpression caused increased lung inflammation, injury, and mortality following intratracheal delivery of Escherichia coli LPS. No differences in cytokine/chemokine expression were measured between p52-overexpressing mice and controls, but increased apoptosis of Clara cell secretory protein-positive airway epithelial cells was observed in transgenic mice after LPS stimulation. In vitro studies in lung epithelial cells showed that p52 overexpression reduced cell survival and increased the expression of several proapoptotic genes during cellular stress. Collectively, these studies demonstrate a novel role for p52 in cell survival/apoptosis of airway epithelial cells and implicate noncanonical NF-κB signaling in the pathogenesis of acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Copyright © 2016 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.
A regulated pattern of nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation is essential for normal development of the mammary gland. An increase in NF-kappaB activity has been implicated in breast cancer. We have generated a novel transgenic mouse model to investigate the role of the alternative NF-kappaB pathway in ductal development and identify possible mediators of tumorigenesis downstream of p100/p52. By overexpressing the NF-kappaB p100/p52 subunit in mammary epithelium using the beta-lactoglobulin milk protein promoter, we found that transgene expression resulted in increased overall NF-kappaB activity during late pregnancy. During pregnancy, p100/p52 expression resulted in delayed ductal development with impaired secondary branching and increased levels of Cyclin D1, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9), and cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) in the mammary gland. After multiple pregnancies the p100 transgenics exhibited a ductal thickening accompanied by small hyperplastic foci. In tumors from mice expressing the polyoma middle T oncoprotein (PyVT) in the mammary gland, increased levels of p100/p52 were present at the time of tumor development. These results show that increased p100/p52 disrupts normal ductal development and provides insight into the mechanism by which this may contribute to human breast cancer.