Cell Rep 2013 Mar 28;3(3):724-33. Epub 2013 Feb 28.
Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
IκB kinase ε (IKKε, IKBKE) is a key regulator of innate immunity and a breast cancer oncogene, amplified in ~30% of breast cancers, that promotes malignant transformation through NF-κB activation. Here, we show that IKKε is modified and regulated by K63-linked polyubiquitination at lysine 30 and lysine 401. Tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin-1β stimulation induces IKKε K63-linked polyubiquitination over baseline levels in both macrophages and breast cancer cell lines, and this modification is essential for IKKε kinase activity, IKKε-mediated NF-κB activation, and IKKε-induced malignant transformation. Disruption of K63-linked ubiquitination of IKKε does not affect its overall structure but impairs the recruitment of canonical NF-κB proteins. A cIAP1/cIAP2/TRAF2 E3 ligase complex binds to and ubiquitinates IKKε. Altogether, these observations demonstrate that K63-linked polyubiquitination regulates IKKε activity in both inflammatory and oncogenic contexts and suggests an alternative approach to targeting this breast cancer oncogene.