Sulforaphane inhibits phorbol ester-stimulated IKK-NF-κB signaling and COX-2 expression in human mammary epithelial cells by targeting NF-κB activating kinase and ERK

Ha-Na Kim, Do-Hee Kim, Eun-Hee Kim, Mee-Hyun Lee, Joydeb Kumar Kundu, Hye-Kyung Na, Young-Nam Cha, Young-Joon Surh
Cancer Letters 2014 August 28, 351 (1): 41-9
Sulforaphane, an isothiocyanate present in cruciferous vegetables, has been reported to possess anti-inflammatory and cancer chemopreventive properties. However, the molecular mechanisms by which sulforaphane suppresses inflammation and carcinogenesis are yet to be fully elucidated. Since the aberrant expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) links inflammation and cancer, the present study was aimed to elucidate the mechanisms by which sulforaphane modulates COX-2 overexpression in human mammary epithelial (MCF-10A) cells stimulated with a prototypic tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Treatment of MCF-10A cells with sulforaphane significantly inhibited TPA-induced expression of COX-2 protein and its mRNA transcript. Transient transfection of cells with deletion mutant constructs of COX-2 promoter revealed that the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) plays a key role in TPA-induced COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells. Pretreatment with sulforaphane significantly attenuated nuclear localization, DNA binding and the transcriptional activity of NF-κB through inhibition of phosphorylation and subsequent degradation of IκBα in MCF-10A cells stimulated with TPA. Sulforaphane also attenuated TPA-induced activation of IκB kinases (IKK), NF-κB-activating kinase (NAK) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 (ERK1/2). Pharmacological inhibition of IKK or transient transfection of cells with dominant-negative mutant forms of this kinase abrogated TPA-induced NF-κB activation and COX-2 expression. In addition, the blockade of ERK1/2 activation negated the catalytic activity of IKKα, but not that of IKKβ, whereas silencing NAK by specific siRNA abrogated the IKKβ activity in TPA-treated cells. Taken together, sulforaphane inhibits TPA-induced NF-κB activation and COX-2 expression in MCF-10A cells by blocking two distinct signaling pathways mediated by ERK1/2-IKKα and NAK-IKKβ.

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