The NF-ĸB p50 subunit generated by KPC1-mediated ubiquitination and limited proteasomal processing, suppresses tumor growth

Yelena Kravtsova-Ivantsiv*, Gilad Goldhirsh, Ciprian Tomuleasa, Eli Pikarsky, Aaron Ciechanover*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Nuclear factor-ĸB (NF-ĸB) is an important transcriptional regulator of key cellular processes, including cell cycle, immune response, and malignant transformation. We found that the ubiquitin ligase Kip1 ubiquitination-promoting complex subunit 1 (KPC1; also known as Ring finger protein 123 – RNF123) stimulates ubiquitination and limited proteasomal processing of the p105 NF-ĸB precursor to generate p50, the active subunit of the heterodimeric transcription factor. KPC1 binds to the ankyrin repeats’ (AR) domain of NF-ĸB p105 via a short binding site of 7 amino acids—968-WILVRLW-974. Though mature NF-ĸB is overexpressed and constitutively active in different tumors, we found that overexpression of the p50 subunit, exerts a strong tumor suppressive effect. Furthermore, excess of KPC1 that stimulates generation of p50 from the p105 precursor, also results in a similar effect. Analysis of transcripts of glioblastoma and breast tumors revealed that excess of p50 stimulates expression of many NF-ĸB-regulated tumor suppressive genes. Using human xenograft tumor models in different immune compromised mice, we demonstrated that the immune system plays a significant role in the tumor suppressive activity of p50:p50 homodimer stimulating the expression of the pro-inflammatory cytokines CCL3, CCL4, and CCL5 in both cultured cells and in the xenografts. Expression of these cytokines leads to recruitment of macrophages and NK cells, which restrict tumor growth. Finally, p50 inhibits the expression of the programmed cell death-ligand 1 (PDL1), establishing an additional level of a strong tumor suppressive response mediated by the immune system.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number67
JournalCancer Cell International
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The studies described in this review were supported by grants to A.C from: The Israel Science Foundation (ISF), The Israel Precision Medicine Partnership (IPMP) administered by the ISF, the Adelson Medical Research Foundation (AMRF), a donation made by Mr. Craig Darian and the late Mr. Albert Sweet administered by the American Technion Society (ATS), a grant funded collaboratively by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology and the Tokushima University, and a Professorship funded by the Israel Cancer Research Fund (ICRF) USA. C.T. was supported by project No. PCE 225/09.03.2021 awarded by the Romanian 344 National Ministry of Research, Innovation, and Digitalization.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


  • Chemokines
  • KPC1
  • NF-ĸB p50
  • PDL1
  • Proteasome
  • Tumor-suppression
  • Ubiquitin ligase


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