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Cancers 2013, 5(1), 170-183; doi:10.3390/cancers5010170

Mouse Genetic Models Reveal Surprising Functions of IkB Kinase Alpha in Skin Development and Skin Carcinogenesis

1, 2, 3 and 4,*
1 The Methodist Hospital Research Institute, Houston, TX 77030, USA 2 Department of Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA 3 Department of Molecular Carcinogenesis, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, TX 78967, USA 4 Cancer and Inflammation Program, Center for Cancer Research, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Frederick, MD 21701, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 21 November 2012 / Revised: 25 January 2013 / Accepted: 6 February 2013 / Published: 15 February 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Skin Cancer)
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Gene knockout studies unexpectedly reveal a pivotal role for IkB kinase alpha (IKKa) in mouse embryonic skin development. Skin carcinogenesis experiments show that Ikka heterozygous mice are highly susceptible to chemical carcinogen or ultraviolet B light (UVB) induced benign and malignant skin tumors in comparison to wild-type mice. IKKa deletion mediated by keratin 5 (K5).Cre or K15.Cre in keratinocytes induces epidermal hyperplasia and spontaneous skin squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) in Ikka floxed mice. On the other hand, transgenic mice overexpressing IKKa in the epidermis, under the control of a truncated loricrin promoter or K5 promoter, develop normal skin and show no defects in the formation of the epidermis and other epithelial organs, and the transgenic IKKa represses chemical carcinogen or UVB induced skin carcinogenesis. Moreover, IKKa deletion mediated by a mutation, which generates a stop codon in the Ikka gene, has been reported in a human autosomal recessive lethal syndrome. Downregulated IKKa and Ikka mutations and deletions are found in human skin SCCs. The collective evidence not only highlights the importance of IKKa in skin development, maintaining skin homeostasis, and preventing skin carcinogenesis, but also demonstrates that mouse models are extremely valuable tools for revealing the mechanisms underlying these biological events, leading our studies from bench side to bedside.
Keywords: skin carcinogenesis; skin development; IKKalpha (IKKa) skin carcinogenesis; skin development; IKKalpha (IKKa)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Xia, X.; Park, E.; Fischer, S.M.; Hu, Y. Mouse Genetic Models Reveal Surprising Functions of IkB Kinase Alpha in Skin Development and Skin Carcinogenesis. Cancers 2013, 5, 170-183.

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