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The Journal of experimental medicine

A novel IL-17 signaling pathway controlling keratinocyte proliferation and tumorigenesis via the TRAF4-ERK5 axis.


PMID 26347473

Abstract

Although IL-17 is emerging as an important cytokine in cancer promotion and progression, the underlining molecular mechanism remains unclear. Previous studies suggest that IL-17 (IL-17A) sustains a chronic inflammatory microenvironment that favors tumor formation. Here we report a novel IL-17-mediated cascade via the IL-17R-Act1-TRAF4-MEKK3-ERK5 positive circuit that directly stimulates keratinocyte proliferation and tumor formation. Although this axis dictates the expression of target genes Steap4 (a metalloreductase for cell metabolism and proliferation) and p63 (a transcription factor for epidermal stem cell proliferation), Steap4 is required for the IL-17-induced sustained expansion of p63(+) basal cells in the epidermis. P63 (a positive transcription factor for the Traf4 promoter) induces TRAF4 expression in keratinocytes. Thus, IL-17-induced Steap4-p63 expression forms a positive feedback loop through p63-mediated TRAF4 expression, driving IL-17-dependent sustained activation of the TRAF4-ERK5 axis for keratinocyte proliferation and tumor formation.

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