The current model predicts that MDM2 is primarily overexpressed in cancers with wild-type (WT) p53 and contributes to oncogenesis by degrading p53. Following a correlated expression of MDM2 and NF-κB2 transcripts in human lung tumors, we have identified a novel transactivation function of MDM2. Here, we report that in human lung tumors, overexpression of MDM2 was found in approximately 30% of cases irrespective of their p53 status, and expression of MDM2 and NF-κB2 transcripts showed a highly significant statistical correlation in tumors with WT p53. We investigated the significance of this correlated expression in terms of mechanism and biological function. Increase in MDM2 expression from its own promoter in transgenic mice remarkably enhanced expression of NF-κB2 compared with its non-transgenic littermates. Knockdown or elimination of endogenous MDM2 expression in cultured non-transformed or lung tumor cells drastically reduced expression of NF-κB2 transcripts, suggesting a normal physiological role of MDM2 in regulating NF-κB2 transcription. MDM2 could up-regulate expression of NF-κB2 transcripts when its p53-interaction domain was blocked with Nutlin-3, indicating that the MDM2-p53 interaction is dispensable for up-regulation of NF-κB2 expression. Consistently, analysis of functional domains of MDM2 indicated that although the p53-interaction domain of MDM2 contributes to the up-regulation of the NFκB2 promoter, MDM2 does not require direct interactions with p53 for this function. Accordingly, MDM2 overexpression in non-transformed or lung cancer cells devoid of p53 also generated a significant increase in the expression of NF-κB2 transcript and its targets CXCL-1 and CXCL-10, whereas elimination of MDM2 expression had the opposite effects. MDM2-mediated increase in p100/NF-κB2 expression reduced cell death mediated by paclitaxel. Furthermore, knockdown of NF-κB2 expression retarded cell proliferation. Based on these data, we propose that MDM2-mediated NF-κB2 up-regulation is a combined effect of p53-dependent and independent mechanisms and that it confers a survival advantage to lung cancer cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research