Inflammatory signaling compromises cell responses to interferon alpha

W. C. Huangfu, J. Qian, C. Liu, J. Liu, A. E. Lokshin, D. P. Baker, H. Rui, S. Y. Fuchs

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37 Citations (Scopus)


Interferon alpha (IFNα) is widely used for treatment of melanoma and certain other malignancies. This cytokine as well as the related IFNΒ exerts potent anti-tumorigenic effects; however, their efficacy in patients is often suboptimal. Here, we report that inflammatory signaling impedes the effects of IFNα/Β. Melanoma cells can secrete pro-inflammatory cytokines that inhibit cellular responses to IFNα/Β via activating the ligand-independent pathway for the phosphorylation and subsequent ubiquitination and accelerated degradation of the IFNAR1 chain of type I IFN receptor. Catalytic activity of the p38 protein kinase was required for IFNAR1 downregulation and inhibition of IFNα/Β signaling induced by proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin 1 (IL-1). Activation of p38 kinase inversely correlated with protein levels of IFNAR1 in clinical melanoma specimens. Inhibition of p38 kinase augmented the inhibitory effects of IFNα/Β on cell viability and growth in vitro and in vivo. The roles of inflammation and p38 protein kinase in regulating cellular responses to IFNα/Β in normal and tumor cells are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-172
Number of pages12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 12 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • cancer
  • inflammation
  • interferon
  • melanoma
  • receptor
  • ubiquitin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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    Huangfu, W. C., Qian, J., Liu, C., Liu, J., Lokshin, A. E., Baker, D. P., Rui, H., & Fuchs, S. Y. (2012). Inflammatory signaling compromises cell responses to interferon alpha. Oncogene, 31(2), 161-172.