The inhibitor of kappa B kinase-epsilon regulates MMP-3 expression levels and can promote lung metastasis.

PMID 25133483


The factors that determine the ability of metastatic tumor cells to expand and grow in specific secondary site(s) are not yet fully understood. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) were identified as potential regulators of the site-specificity of metastasis. We found that lung carcinoma cells ectopically expressing high levels of the receptor for the type I insulin like growth factor receptor (M27(R) cells) had a significant reduction in MMP-3 expression levels and this coincided with reduced metastasis to the lung. We used these cells to further investigate signaling pathways regulating MMP-3 expression and the role that MMP-3 plays in lung metastasis. We show that ectopic IκB kinase ɛ (IKKɛ) expression in these cells partly restored MMP-3 expression levels and also sensitized MMP-3 transcription to induction by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA). This increase in MMP-3 production was due to increased activation of several signal transduction mediators, including protein kinase C alpha, ERK2, Akt and the transcription factor p65. Furthermore, reconstitution of MMP-3 expression in M27(R) cells restored their ability to colonize the lung whereas silencing of MMP-3 in M27 cells reduced metastases. Collectively, our results implicate IKKɛ as a central regulator of PMA-induced cell signaling and MMP-3 expression and identify MMP-3 as an enabler of tumor cell expansion in the lung.Oncogenesis (2014) 3, e116; doi:10.1038/oncsis.2014.28; published online 18 August 2014.