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Atypical mechanism of NF-κB activation by TRE17/ubiquitin-specific protease 6 (USP6) oncogene and its requirement in tumorigenesis.

The NF-κB transcription factor has a central role in diverse processes, including inflammation, proliferation and cell survival, and its activity is dysregulated in diseases such as autoimmunity and cancer. We recently identified the TRE17/ubiquitin-specific protease 6 (USP6) oncogene as the first de-ubiquitinating enzyme to activate NF-κB. TRE17/USP6 is translocated and overexpressed in aneurysmal bone cyst (ABC), a pediatric tumor characterized by extensive bone degradation and inflammatory recruitment. In the current study, we explore the mechanism by which TRE17 induces activation of NF-κB, and find that it activates the classical NF-κB pathway through an atypical mechanism that does not involve IκB degradation. TRE17 co-precipitates with IκB kinase (IKK), and IKK activity is augmented in stable cell lines overexpressing TRE17, in a USP-dependent manner. Optimal activation of NF-κB by TRE17 requires both catalytic subunits of IKK, distinguishing its mechanism from the classical and non-canonical pathways, which require either IKKβ or IKKα, respectively. TRE17 stimulates phosphorylation of p65 at serine 536, a modification that has been associated with enhanced transcriptional activity and nuclear retention. Induction of S536 phosphorylation by TRE17 requires both IKKα and IKKβ, as well as the IKKγ/NEMO regulatory subunit of IKK. We further demonstrate that TRE17(long) is highly tumorigenic when overexpressed in NIH3T3 fibroblasts, and that inhibition of NF-κB significantly attenuates tumor formation. In summary, these studies uncover an unexpected signaling mechanism for activation of classical NF-κB by TRE17. They further reveal a critical role for NF-κB in TRE17-mediated tumorigenesis, and suggest that NF-κB inhibitors may function as effective therapeutic agents in the treatment of ABC.

Pubmed ID: 22081069


  • Pringle LM
  • Young R
  • Quick L
  • Riquelme DN
  • Oliveira AM
  • May MJ
  • Chou MM



Publication Data

July 26, 2012

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: F31CA126488
  • Agency: ASC OASH HHS, Id: P30 AS050950
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R01 CA081415
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R01 CA081415
  • Agency: NCI NIH HHS, Id: R01 CA081415-11
  • Agency: NHLBI NIH HHS, Id: R01 HL096642

Mesh Terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • NF-kappa B
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Serine
  • Transcription Factors
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase