MALT1 is required for EGFR-induced NF-κB activation and contributes to EGFR-driven lung cancer progression

Oncogene. 2016 Feb 18;35(7):919-28. doi: 10.1038/onc.2015.146. Epub 2015 May 18.


The transcription factor nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) has been implicated in having a crucial role in the tumorigenesis of many types of human cancers. Although epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) can directly activate NF-κB, the mechanism by which EGFR induces NF-κB activation and the role of NF-κB in EGFR-associated tumor progression is still not fully defined. Herein, we found that mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue 1 (MALT1) is involved in EGFR-induced NF-κB activation in cancer cells, and that MALT1 deficiency impaired EGFR-induced NF-κB activation. MALT1 mainly functions as a scaffold protein by recruiting E3 ligase TRAF6 to IKK complex to activate NF-κB in response to EGF stimulation. Functionally, MALT1 inhibition shows significant defects in EGFR-associated tumor malignancy, including cell migration, metastasis and anchorage-independent growth. To further access a physiological role of MALT1-dependent NF-κB activation in EGFR-driven tumor progression, we generated triple-transgenic mouse model (tetO-EGFR(L858R); CCSP-rtTA; Malt1(-/-)), in which mutant EGFR-driven lung cancer was developed in the absence of MALT1 expression. MALT1-deficient mice show significantly less lung tumor burden when compared with its heterozygous controls, suggesting that MALT1 is required for the progression of EGFR-induced lung cancer. Mechanistically, MALT1 deficiency abolished both NF-κB and STAT3 activation in vivo, which is a result of a defect of interleukin-6 production. In comparison, MALT1 deficiency does not affect tumor progression in a mouse model (LSL-K-ras(G12D); CCSP-Cre; Malt1(-/-)) in which lung cancer is induced by expressing a K-ras mutant. Thus, our study has provided the cellular and genetic evidence that suggests MALT1-dependent NF-κB activation is important in EGFR-associated solid-tumor progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caspases / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Disease Progression
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Enzyme Activation / physiology
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics
  • Lung Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, SCID
  • Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue Lymphoma Translocation 1 Protein
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism*
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • NF-kappa B
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Caspases
  • MALT1 protein, human
  • Malt1 protein, mouse
  • Mucosa-Associated Lymphoid Tissue Lymphoma Translocation 1 Protein