Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17419723
FEBS J. 2007 May;274(10):2540-51
NF-kappaB essential modulator (NEMO) plays an essential role in the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) pathway as a modulator of the two other subunits of the IkappaB kinase (IKK) complex, i.e. the protein kinases, IKKalpha and IKKbeta. Previous reports all envision the IKK complex to be a static entity. Using glycerol-gradient ultracentrifugation, we observed stimulus-dependent dynamic IKK complex assembly. In wild-type fibroblasts, the kinases and a portion of cellular NEMO associate in a 350-kDa high-molecular-mass complex. In response to constitutive NF-kappaB stimulation by Tax, we observed NEMO recruitment and oligomerization to a shifted high-molecular-mass complex of 440 kDa which displayed increased IKK activity. This stimulus-dependent oligomerization of NEMO was also observed using fluorescence resonance energy transfer after a transient pulse with interleukin-1beta. In addition, fully activated, dimeric kinases not bound to NEMO were detected in these Tax-activated fibroblasts. By glycerol gradient ultracentrifugation, we also showed that: (a) in fibroblasts deficient in IKKalpha and IKKbeta, NEMO predominantly exists as a monomer; (b) in NEMO-deficient fibroblasts, IKKbeta dimers are present that are less stable than IKKalpha dimers. Intriguingly, in resting Rat-1 fibroblasts, 160-kDa IKKalpha-NEMO and IKKbeta-NEMO heterocomplexes were observed as well as a significant proportion of NEMO monomer. These results suggest that most NEMO molecules do not form a tripartite IKK complex with an IKKalpha-IKKbeta heterodimer as previously reported in the literature but, instead, NEMO is able to form a complex with the monomeric forms of IKKalpha and IKKbeta.