HOX proteins define a family of key transcription factors regulating animal embryogenesis. HOX genes have also been linked to oncogenesis and HOXA1 has been described to be active in several cancers, including breast cancer. Through a proteome-wide interaction screening, we previously identified the TNFR-associated proteins RBCK1/HOIL-1 and TRAF2 as HOXA1 interactors suggesting that HOXA1 is functionally linked to the TNF/NF-κB signaling pathway. Here, we reveal a strong positive correlation between expression of HOXA1 and of members of the TNF/NF-κB pathway in breast tumor datasets. Functionally, we demonstrate that HOXA1 can activate NF-κB and operates upstream of the NF-κB inhibitor IκB. Consistently, we next demonstrate that the HOXA1-mediated activation of NF-κB is non-transcriptional and that RBCK1 and TRAF2 influences on NF-κB are epistatic to HOXA1. We also identify an 11 Histidine repeat and the homeodomain of HOXA1 to be required both for RBCK1 and TRAF2 interaction and NF-κB stimulation. Finally, we highlight that activation of NF-κB is crucial for HOXA1 oncogenic activity.
- Journal Article