Loss of skeletal muscle in cancer cachexia has a negative effect on both morbidity and mortality. The role of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) in regulating muscle protein degradation and expression of the ubiquitin-proteasome proteolytic pathway in response to a tumour cachectic factor, proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF), has been studied by creating stable, transdominant-negative, muscle cell lines. Murine C2C12 myoblasts were transfected with plasmids with a CMV promoter that had mutations at the serine phosphorylation sites required for degradation of I-κBα, an NF-κB inhibitory protein, and allowed to differentiate into myotubes. Proteolysis-inducing factor induced degradation of I-κBα, nuclear accumulation of NF-κB and an increase in luciferase reporter gene activity in myotubes containing wild-type, but not mutant, I-κBα, proteins. Proteolysis-inducing factor also induced total protein degradation and loss of the myofibrillar protein myosin in myotubes containing wild-type, but not mutant, plasmids at the same concentrations as those causing activation of NF-κB. Proteolysis-inducing factor also induced increased expression of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, as determined by 'chymotrypsin-like' enzyme activity, the predominant proteolytic activity of the β-subunits of the proteasome, protein expression of 20S α-subunits and the 19S subunits MSSI and p42, as well as the ubiquitin conjugating enzyme, E214k, in cells containing wild-type, but not mutant, I-κBα. The ability of mutant I-κBα to inhibit PIF-induced protein degradation, as well as expression of the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, confirms that both of these responses depend on initiation of transcription by NF-κB. © 2005 Cancer Research UK.
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- proteasome proteolysis
- protein degradation
- proteolysis-inducing factor (PIF)