[en] The oncoprotein HER-2/neu is a prosurvival factor, and its overexpression has been correlated with poor prognosis in patients with breast cancer. We report that HER-2 is a new substrate for caspase-8 and that tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) stimulation leads to an early caspase-8-dependent HER-2 cleavage in MCF7 A/Z breast adenocarcinoma cells defective for nuclear factor kappaB (NFkappaB) activation. We show that the antiapoptotic transcription factor NFkappaB counteracts this cleavage through induction of the caspase-8 inhibitor c-FLIP. Our results also demonstrate that this HER-2 cleavage contributes to the TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis pathway because ectopic expression of an uncleavable HER-2 protects NFkappaB-defective cells against TNF-alpha-mediated cell death. Therefore, we propose an original model in which NFkappaB exerts a new antiapoptotic function by counteracting TNF-alpha-triggered cleavage of the HER-2 survival factor.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; TELEVIE, ARC ULG