, Volume 85, Issue 11, pp 1187-1202
Date: 03 Jul 2007

Many faces of NF-κB signaling induced by genotoxic stress

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The nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) family of dimeric transcription factors plays pivotal roles in physiologic and pathologic processes, including immune and inflammatory responses and development and progression of various human cancers. Inactive NF-κB dimers normally exist in the cytoplasm in association with inhibitor proteins belonging to the inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB) family of related proteins. Activation of NF-κB involves its release from IκB and subsequent nuclear translocation to induce expression of target genes. Intense research effort has revealed many distinct signaling pathways and mechanisms of NF-κB activation induced by immune and inflammatory stimuli. These aspects of NF-κB biology have been amply reviewed in the literature. However, those that involve DNA-damaging agents are less well understood, and multiple conflicting pathways and mechanisms have been described in the literature. In this review, we summarize the proposed mechanisms of NF-κB activation by various DNA-damaging agents, discuss the significance of such activation in the context of cancer treatment, and highlight some of the critical questions that remain to be addressed in future studies.