FOXP3 controls an MIR-146/NF-κB negative feedback loop that inhibits apoptosis in breast cancer cells

Academic Article


  • FOXP3 functions not only as the master regulator in regulatory T cells, but also as an X-linked tumor suppressor. The tumorsuppressive activity of FOXP3 has been observed in tumor initiation, but its role during tumor progression remains controversial. Moreover, the mechanism of FOXP3-mediated tumorsuppressive activity remains largely unknown. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing, we identified a series of potential FOXP3-targeted miRNAs in MCF7 cells. Notably, FOXP3 significantly induced the expression of miR-146a/b. In vitro, FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b prevented tumor cell proliferation and enhanced apoptosis. Functional analyses in vitro and in vivo revealed that FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b negatively regulates NF-κB activation by inhibiting the expression of IRAK1 and TRAF6. In ChIP assays, FOXP3 directly bound the promoter region of miR-146a but not of miR-146b, and FOXP3 interacted directly with NF-κB p65 to regulate an miR-146-NF-κB negative feedback regulation loop in normal breast epithelial and tumor cells, as demonstrated with luciferase reporter assays. Although FOXP3 significantly inhibited breast tumor growth and migration in vitro and metastasis in vivo, FOXP3-induced miR-146a/b contributed only to the inhibition of breast tumor growth. These data suggest that miR-146a/b contributes to FOXP3-mediated tumor suppression during tumor growth by triggering apoptosis. The identification of a FOXP3-miR-146- NF-κB axis provides an underlying mechanism for disruption of miR-146 family member expression and constitutive NF-κB activation in breast cancer cells. Linking the tumor suppressor function of FOXP3 to NF-κB activation reveals a potential therapeutic approach for cancers with FOXP3 defects.
  • Published In

  • Cancer Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Liu R; Liu C; Chen D; Yang WH; Liu X; Liu CG; Dugas CM; Tang F; Zheng P; Liu Y
  • Start Page

  • 1703
  • End Page

  • 1713
  • Volume

  • 75
  • Issue

  • 8