Recent studies using glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β)- deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts suggest that GSK-3β positively regulates nuclear factor κB (NFκB)-mediated gene transcription. Because NFκB is suggested to participate in cell proliferation and survival pathways in pancreatic cancer, we investigated the role of GSK-3β in regulating these cellular processes. Herein, we show that pancreatic cancer cells contain a pool of active GSK-3β and that pharmacologic inhibition of GSK-3 kinase activity using small molecule inhibitors or genetic depletion of GSK-3β by RNA interference leads to decreased cancer cell proliferation and survival. Mechanistically, we show that GSK-3β influences NFκB-mediated gene transcription at a point distal to the Iκ kinase complex, as only ectopic expression of the NFκB subunits p65/p50, but not an Iκ kinase β constitutively active mutant, could rescue the decreased cellular proliferation and survival associated with GSK-3β inhibition. Taken together, our results simultaneously identify a previously unrecognized role for GSK-3β in cancer cell survival and proliferation and suggest GSK-3β as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research