TRAF1 Is Critical for DMBA/Solar UVR-Induced Skin Carcinogenesis

Hiroyuki Yamamoto, Joohyun Ryu, Eli Min, Naomi Oi, Ruihua Bai, Tatyana A. Zykova, Dong Hoon Yu, Kenji Moriyama, Ann M. Bode, Zigang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


TRAF1 is a member of the TRAF protein family, which regulates the canonical and noncanonical NF-κB signaling cascades. Although aberrant TRAF1 expression in tumors has been reported, the role of TRAF1 remains elusive. Here, we report that TRAF1 is required for solar UV-induced skin carcinogenesis. Immunohistochemical analysis showed that TRAF1 expression is up-regulated in human actinic keratosis and squamous cell carcinoma. In vivo studies indicated that TRAF1 expression levels in mouse skin are induced by short-term solar UV irradiation, and a long-term skin carcinogenesis study showed that deletion of TRAF1 in mice results in a significant inhibition of skin tumor formation. Moreover, we show that TRAF1 is required for solar UV-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinase–5 (ERK5) phosphorylation and the expression of AP-1 family members (c-Fos/c-Jun). Mechanistic studies showed that TRAF1 expression enhances the ubiquitination of ERK5 on lysine 184, which is necessary for its kinase activity and AP-1 activation. Overall, our results suggest that TRAF1 mediates ERK5 activity by regulating the upstream effectors of ERK5 and also by modulating its ubiquitination status. Targeting TRAF1 function might lead to strategies for preventing and treating skin cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1322-1332
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Authors


  • 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate
  • 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene
  • AK
  • DMBA
  • ERK
  • ERK kinase 5
  • HA
  • HEK
  • HEKa
  • K
  • MAPK
  • MEK5
  • SCC
  • TPA
  • WT
  • actinic keratosis
  • adult human epidermal keratinocyte
  • extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase
  • hemagglutinin
  • human embryonic kidney
  • keratin
  • mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • squamous cell carcinoma
  • wild type


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