Neuroblastoma (NB) is the most common solid extracranial cancer of childhood. Amplification and over-expression of the MYCN oncogene characterize the most aggressive forms and are believed to severely downregulate MHC class I molecules by transcriptional inhibition of the p50 NF-κB subunit. In this study, we found that in human NB cell lines, high MYCN expression is not responsible for low MHC class I expression because neither transfection-mediated overexpression nor small interfering RNA suppression of MYCN affects MHC class I and p50 levels. Furthermore, we identified NF-κB as the immediate upstream regulator of MHC class I because the p65 NF-κB subunit binds MHC class I promoter in chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, and MHC class I expression is enhanced by p65 transfection and reduced by (a) the chemical NF-κB inhibitor sulfasalazine, (b) a dominant-negative IKBα gene, and (c) p65 silencing. Moreover, we showed that the endoplasmic reticulum aminopeptidases ERAP1 and ERAP2, which generate MHC class I binding peptides, are regulated by NF-κB, contain functional NF-κB-binding elements in their promoters, and mimic MHC class I molecules in the expression pattern. Consistent with these findings, nuclear p65 was detected in NB cells that express MHC class I molecules in human NB specimens. Thus, the coordinated downregulation of MHC class I, ERAP1, and ERAP2 in aggressive NB cells is attributable to a low transcriptional availability of NF-κB, possibly due to an unknown suppressor other than MYCN.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research