TRAF2 is an NF-κB-activating oncogene in epithelial cancers

Oncogene (Impact Factor: 8.46). 12/2013; 34(2). DOI: 10.1038/onc.2013.543
Source: PubMed


Aberrant nuclear factor (NF)-κB activation is frequently observed in human cancers. Genome characterization efforts have identified genetic alterations in multiple components of the NF-κB pathway, some of which have been shown to be essential for cancer initiation and tumor maintenance. Here, using patient tumors and cancer cell lines, we identify the NF-κB regulator, TRAF2 (tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 2), as an oncogene that is recurrently amplified and rearranged in 15% of human epithelial cancers. Suppression of TRAF2 in cancer cells harboring TRAF2 copy number gain inhibits proliferation, NF-κB activation, anchorage-independent growth and tumorigenesis. Cancer cells that are dependent on TRAF2 also require NF-κB for survival. The phosphorylation of TRAF2 at serine 11 is essential for the survival of cancer cells harboring TRAF2 amplification. Together, these observations identify TRAF2 as a frequently amplified oncogene.Oncogene advance online publication, 23 December 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.543.

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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factors (TRAFs) form a family of proteins that are best known as signaling adapters of TNFRs. However, emerging evidence suggests that TRAF proteins, particularly TRAF2 and TRAF3, also regulate signal transduction by controlling the fate of intracellular signaling factors. A well-recognized function of TRAF2 and TRAF3 in this aspect is to mediate ubiquitin-dependent degradation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)-inducing kinase (NIK), an action required for the control of NIK-regulated non-canonical NF-κB signaling pathway. TRAF2 and TRAF3 form a complex with the E3 ubiquitin ligase cIAP (cIAP1 or cIAP2), in which TRAF3 serves as the NIK-binding adapter. Recent evidence suggests that the cIAP-TRAF2-TRAF3 E3 complex also targets additional signaling factors for ubiquitin-dependent degradation, thereby regulating important aspects of immune and inflammatory responses. This review provides both historical aspects and new insights into the signaling functions of this ubiquitination system. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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