IKKβ regulates the repair of DNA double-strand breaks induced by ionizing radiation in MCF-7 breast cancer cells

Lixian Wu, Lijian Shao, Ningfei An, Junru Wang, Senthil Pazhanisamy, Wei Feng, Martin Hauer-Jensen, Shigeki Miyamoto, Daohong Zhou

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34 Scopus citations


Activation of the IKK-NFκB pathway increases the resistance of cancer cells to ionizing radiation (IR). This effect has been largely attributed to the induction of anti-apoptotic proteins by NFκB. Since efficient repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) is required for the clonogenic survival of irradiated cells, we investigated if activation of the IKK-NFκB pathway also regulates DSB repair to promote cell survival after IR. We found that inhibition of the IKK-NFκB pathway with a specific IKKβ inhibitor significantly reduced the repair of IR-induced DSBs in MCF-7 cells. The repair of DSBs was also significantly inhibited by silencing IKKβ expression with IKKβ shRNA. However, down-regulation of IKKα expression with IKKα shRNA had no significant effect on the repair of IR-induced DSBs. Similar findings were also observed in IKKα and/or IKKβ knockout mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). More importantly, inhibition of IKKβ with an inhibitor or down-regulation of IKKβ with IKKβ shRNA sensitized MCF-7 cells to IR-induced clonogenic cell death. DSB repair function and resistance to IR were completely restored by IKKβ reconstitution in IKKβ-knockdown MCF-7 cells. These findings demonstrate that IKKβ can regulate the repair of DSBs, a previously undescribed and important IKKβ kinase function; and inhibition of DSB repair may contribute to cance cell radiosensitization induced by IKKβ inhibition. As such, specific inhibition of IKKβ may represents a more effective approach to sensitize cancer cells to radiotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere18447
JournalPloS one
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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