alexa An epigenetic switch involving NF-kappaB, Lin28, Let-7 MicroRNA, and IL6 links inflammation to cell transformation.
Genetics & Molecular Biology

Genetics & Molecular Biology

Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy

Author(s): Iliopoulos D, Hirsch HA, Struhl K

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Abstract Inflammation is linked clinically and epidemiologically to cancer, and NF-kappaB appears to play a causative role, but the mechanisms are poorly understood. We show that transient activation of Src oncoprotein can mediate an epigenetic switch from immortalized breast cells to a stably transformed line that forms self-renewing mammospheres that contain cancer stem cells. Src activation triggers an inflammatory response mediated by NF-kappaB that directly activates Lin28 transcription and rapidly reduces let-7 microRNA levels. Let-7 directly inhibits IL6 expression, resulting in higher levels of IL6 than achieved by NF-kappaB activation. IL6-mediated activation of the STAT3 transcription factor is necessary for transformation, and IL6 activates NF-kappaB, thereby completing a positive feedback loop. This regulatory circuit operates in other cancer cells lines, and its transcriptional signature is found in human cancer tissues. Thus, inflammation activates a positive feedback loop that maintains the epigenetic transformed state for many generations in the absence of the inducing signal.
This article was published in Cell and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy

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