NF-kappaB: a multifaceted transcription factor regulated at several levels

Chembiochem. 2004 Oct 4;5(10):1348-58. doi: 10.1002/cbic.200400144.


NF-kappaB is a generic name for an evolutionarily conserved transcription-factor system that contributes to the mounting of an effective immune response but is also involved in the regulation of cell proliferation, development, and apoptosis. The implication of NF-kappaB in central biological processes and its extraordinary connectivity to other signaling pathways raise a need for highly controlled regulation of NF-kappaB activity at several levels. While all NF-kappaB activation pathways share a central and critical proteasome-mediated step that leads to the degradation of inhibitory proteins and the release of DNA-binding subunits, there is evidence for a downstream level of NF-kappaB regulation that employs several mechanisms. These include promoter-specific exchange of dimers and modification of the transactivating p65 subunit by phosphorylation, acetylation, ubiquitination, or prolyl isomerization. The signaling pathways and enzymes controlling this second level of regulation and their potential use as therapeutic targets for the treatment of NF-kappaB-associated pathologies are discussed here.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • NF-kappa B
  • DNA