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1.  Beclin1 Controls the Levels of p53 by Regulating the Deubiquitination Activity of USP10 and USP13 
Cell  2011;147(1):223-234.
Autophagy is an important intracellular catabolic mechanism that mediates the degradation of cytoplasmic proteins and organelles. We report a potent small molecule inhibitor of autophagy named “spautin-1” for specific and potent autophagy inhibitor-1. Spautin-1 promotes the degradation of Vps34 PI3 kinase complexes by inhibiting two ubiquitin-specific peptidases, USP10 and USP13, that target the Beclin1 subunit of Vps34 complexes. Beclin1 is a tumor suppressor and frequently monoallelically lost in human cancers. Interestingly, Beclin1 also controls the protein stabilities of USP10 and USP13 by regulating their deubiquitinating activities. Since USP10 mediates the deubiquitination of p53, regulating deubiquitination activity of USP10 and USP13 by Beclin1 provides a mechanism for Beclin1 to control the levels of p53. Our study provides a molecular mechanism involving protein deubiquitination that connects two important tumor suppressors, p53 and Beclin1, and a potent small molecule inhibitor of autophagy as a possible lead compound for developing anticancer drugs.
PMCID: PMC3441147  PMID: 21962518
2.  USP1 deubiquitinase: cellular functions, regulatory mechanisms and emerging potential as target in cancer therapy 
Molecular Cancer  2013;12:91.
Reversible protein ubiquitination is emerging as a key process for maintaining cell homeostasis, and the enzymes that participate in this process, in particular E3 ubiquitin ligases and deubiquitinases (DUBs), are increasingly being regarded as candidates for drug discovery. Human DUBs are a group of approximately 100 proteins, whose cellular functions and regulatory mechanisms remain, with some exceptions, poorly characterized. One of the best-characterized human DUBs is ubiquitin-specific protease 1 (USP1), which plays an important role in the cellular response to DNA damage. USP1 levels, localization and activity are modulated through several mechanisms, including protein-protein interactions, autocleavage/degradation and phosphorylation, ensuring that USP1 function is carried out in a properly regulated spatio-temporal manner. Importantly, USP1 expression is deregulated in certain types of human cancer, suggesting that USP1 could represent a valid target in cancer therapy. This view has gained recent support with the finding that USP1 inhibition may contribute to revert cisplatin resistance in an in vitro model of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Here, we describe the current knowledge on the cellular functions and regulatory mechanisms of USP1. We also summarize USP1 alterations found in cancer, combining data from the literature and public databases with our own data. Finally, we discuss the emerging potential of USP1 as a target, integrating published data with our novel findings on the effects of the USP1 inhibitor pimozide in combination with cisplatin in NSCLC cells.
PMCID: PMC3750636  PMID: 23937906
Deubiquitinase; USP1; DNA damage; Chemoresistance
3.  USP7/HAUSP stimulates repair of oxidative DNA lesions 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(7):2604-2609.
USP7 is involved in the cellular stress response by regulating Mdm2 and p53 protein levels following severe DNA damage. In addition to this, USP7 may also play a role in chromatin remodelling by direct deubiquitylation of histones, as well as indirectly by regulating the cellular levels of E3 ubiquitin ligases involved in histone ubiquitylation. Here, we provide new evidence that USP7 modulated chromatin remodelling is important for base excision repair of oxidative lesions. We show that transient USP7 siRNA knockdown did not change the levels or activity of base excision repair enzymes, but significantly reduced chromatin DNA accessibility and consequently the rate of repair of oxidative lesions.
PMCID: PMC3074138  PMID: 21138959
4.  USP7 counteracts SCFβTrCP- but not APCCdh1-mediated proteolysis of Claspin 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2009;184(1):13-19.
Claspin is an adaptor protein that facilitates the ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related (ATR)-mediated phosphorylation and activation of Chk1, a key effector kinase in the DNA damage response. Efficient termination of Chk1 signaling in mitosis and during checkpoint recovery requires SCFβTrCP-dependent destruction of Claspin. Here, we identify the deubiquitylating enzyme ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) as a novel regulator of Claspin stability. Claspin and USP7 interact in vivo, and USP7 is required to maintain steady-state levels of Claspin. Furthermore, USP7-mediated deubiquitylation markedly prolongs the half-life of Claspin, which in turn increases the magnitude and duration of Chk1 phosphorylation in response to genotoxic stress. Finally, we find that in addition to the M phase–specific, SCFβTrCP-mediated degradation, Claspin is destabilized by the anaphase-promoting complex (APC) and thus remains unstable in G1. Importantly, we demonstrate that USP7 specifically opposes the SCFβTrCP- but not APCCdh1-mediated degradation of Claspin. Thus, Claspin turnover is controlled by multiple ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation activities, which together provide a flexible means to regulate the ATR–Chk1 pathway.
PMCID: PMC2615094  PMID: 19124652
5.  USP11 augments TGFβ signalling by deubiquitylating ALK5 
Open Biology  2012;2(6):120063.
The TGFβ receptors signal through phosphorylation and nuclear translocation of SMAD2/3. SMAD7, a transcriptional target of TGFβ signals, negatively regulates the TGFβ pathway by recruiting E3 ubiquitin ligases and targeting TGFβ receptors for ubiquitin-mediated degradation. In this report, we identify a deubiquitylating enzyme USP11 as an interactor of SMAD7. USP11 enhances TGFβ signalling and can override the negative effects of SMAD7. USP11 interacts with and deubiquitylates the type I TGFβ receptor (ALK5), resulting in enhanced TGFβ-induced gene transcription. The deubiquitylase activity of USP11 is required to enhance TGFβ-induced gene transcription. RNAi-mediated depletion of USP11 results in inhibition of TGFβ-induced SMAD2/3 phosphorylation and TGFβ-mediated transcriptional responses. Central to TGFβ pathway signalling in early embryogenesis and carcinogenesis is TGFβ-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition. USP11 depletion results in inhibition of TGFβ-induced epithelial to mesenchymal transition.
PMCID: PMC3390794  PMID: 22773947
USP11; USP15; TGFβ; ALK5; ubiquitin; cancer
6.  The deubiquitination enzyme USP46 functions as a tumor suppressor by controlling PHLPP-dependent attenuation of Akt signaling in colon cancer 
Oncogene  2012;32(4):471-478.
PHLPP is a family of Ser/Thr protein phosphatases that serve as tumor suppressors by negatively regulating Akt. Our recent studies have demonstrated that the ubiquitin proteasome pathway plays an important role in the downregulation of PHLPP in colorectal cancer. In this study, we show that the deubiquitinase USP46 stabilizes the expression of both PHLPP isoforms by reducing the rate of PHLPP degradation. USP46 binds to PHLPP and directly removes the polyubiquitin chains from PHLPP in vitro and in cells. Increased USP46 expression correlates with decreased ubiquitination and upregulation of PHLPP proteins in colon cancer cells, whereas knockdown of USP46 has the opposite effect. Functionally, USP46-mediated stabilization of PHLPP and the subsequent inhibition of Akt result in a decrease in cell proliferation and tumorigenesis of colon cancer cells in vivo. Moreover, reduced USP46 protein level is found associated with poor PHLPP expression in colorectal cancer patient specimens. Taken together, these results indentify a tumor suppressor role of USP46 in promoting PHLPP expression and inhibiting Akt signaling in colon cancer.
PMCID: PMC3371166  PMID: 22391563
PHLPP; USP46; Akt; deubiquitination; tumor suppressor
7.  USP7S-dependent inactivation of Mule regulates DNA damage signalling and repair 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;41(3):1750-1756.
The E3 ubiquitin ligase Mule/ARF-BP1 plays an important role in the cellular DNA damage response by controlling base excision repair and p53 protein levels. However, how the activity of Mule is regulated in response to DNA damage is currently unknown. Here, we report that the Ser18-containing isoform of the USP7 deubiquitylation enzyme (USP7S) controls Mule stability by preventing its self-ubiquitylation and subsequent proteasomal degradation. We find that in response to DNA damage, downregulation of USP7S leads to self-ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation of Mule, which eventually leads to p53 accumulation. Cells that are unable to downregulate Mule show reduced ability to upregulate p53 levels in response to DNA damage. We also find that, as Mule inactivation is required for stabilization of base excision repair enzymes, the failure of cells to downregulate Mule after DNA damage results in deficient DNA repair. Our data describe a novel mechanism by which Mule is regulated in response to DNA damage and coordinates cellular DNA damage responses and DNA repair.
PMCID: PMC3561956  PMID: 23275561
8.  USP10 Regulates p53 Localization and Stability by Deubiquitinating p53 
Cell  2010;140(3):384.
p53 stability and localization is essential for its tumor suppressor function. Ubiquitination by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Mdm2 is the major regulatory mechanism of p53, which induces p53 nuclear export and degradation. However, it is unclear whether ubiquitinated cytoplasmic p53 can be recycled. Here we report that USP10, a cytoplasmic ubiquitin-specific protease, deubiquitinates p53, reversing Mdm2-induced p53 nuclear export and degradation. Following DNA damage, USP10 is stabilized and a fraction of USP10 translocates to the nucleus to activate p53. The translocation and stabilization of USP10 is regulated by ATM -mediated phosphorylation of USP10 at Thr42 and Ser337. Finally, USP10 suppresses tumor cell growth in cells with wild-type p53, with USP10 expression downregulated in a high percentage of clear cell carcinomas, known to have few p53 mutations. These findings reveal USP10 to be a novel regulator of p53, providing an alternative mechanism of p53 inhibition in cancers with wild-type p53.
PMCID: PMC2820153  PMID: 20096447
9.  Stabilization of the E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Nrdp1 by the Deubiquitinating Enzyme USP8 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(17):7748-7757.
Nrdp1 is a RING finger-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase that physically interacts with and regulates steady-state cellular levels of the ErbB3 and ErbB4 receptor tyrosine kinases and has been implicated in the degradation of the inhibitor-of-apoptosis protein BRUCE. Here we demonstrate that the Nrdp1 protein undergoes efficient proteasome-dependent degradation and that mutations in its RING finger domain that disrupt ubiquitin ligase activity enhance stability. These observations suggest that Nrdp1 self-ubiquitination and stability could play an important role in regulating the activity of this protein. Using affinity chromatography, we identified the deubiquitinating enzyme USP8 (also called Ubpy) as a protein that physically interacts with Nrdp1. Nrdp1 and USP8 could be coimmunoprecipitated, and in transfected cells USP8 specifically bound to Nrdp1 but not cbl, a RING finger E3 ligase involved in ligand-stimulated epidermal growth factor receptor down-regulation. The USP8 rhodanese and catalytic domains mediated Nrdp1 binding. USP8 markedly enhanced the stability of Nrdp1, and a point mutant that disrupts USP8 catalytic activity destabilized endogenous Nrdp1. Our results indicate that Nrdp1 is a specific target for the USP8 deubiquitinating enzyme and are consistent with a model where USP8 augments Nrdp1 activity by mediating its stabilization.
PMCID: PMC506982  PMID: 15314180
10.  RNA Interference Screen Identifies Usp18 as a Regulator of Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Synthesis 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(6):1833-1844.
Elevated expression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) contributes to the progression of many types of cancer. Therefore, we developed a high-throughput screen to identify proteins that regulate the levels of EGFR in squamous cell carcinoma. Knocking down various ubiquitination-related genes with small interfering RNAs led to the identification of several novel genes involved in this process. One of these genes, Usp18, is a member of the ubiquitin-specific protease family. We found that knockdown of Usp18 in several cell lines reduced expression levels of EGFR by 50–80%, whereas the levels of other receptor tyrosine kinases remained unchanged. Overexpression of Usp18 elevated EGFR levels in a manner requiring the catalytic cysteine of Usp18. Analysis of metabolically radiolabeled cells showed that the rate of EGFR protein synthesis was reduced up to fourfold in the absence of Usp18. Interestingly, this dramatic reduction occurred despite no change in the levels of EGFR mRNA. This suggests that depletion of Usp18 inhibited EGFR mRNA translation. In fact, this inhibition required the presence of native 5′ and 3′ untranslated region sequences on EGFR mRNA. Together, our data provide evidence for the novel mechanism of EGFR regulation at the translational step of receptor synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2655262  PMID: 19158387
11.  USP8 links the PTEN-Akt-AIP4 pathway to the control of FLIPS stability and TRAIL sensitivity in glioblastoma multiforme 
Cancer research  2010;70(12):5046-5053.
The anti-apoptotic protein FLIPS is a key suppressor of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) -induced apoptosis in human glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) cells. We previously reported that a novel phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)-Akt-atrophin interacting protein 4 (AIP4) pathway regulates FLIPS ubiquitination and stability, although the means by which PTEN and Akt were linked to AIP4 activity were unclear. We here report that a second regulator of ubiquitin metabolism, the ubiquitin-specific protease (USP) 8, is a downstream target of Akt, and that USP8 links Akt to AIP4 and the regulation of FLIPS stability and TRAIL resistance. In human GBM xenografts, levels of USP8 correlated inversely with pAkt levels, and genetic or pharmacologic manipulation of Akt regulated USP8 levels in an inverse manner. Over-expression of WT USP8, but not catalytically inactive USP8, increased FLIPS ubiquitination, decreased FLIPS half-life, decreased FLIPS steady-state levels, and decreased TRAIL resistance, while siRNA-mediated suppression of USP8 levels had the opposite effects. Because high levels of the USP8 deubiquitinase correlated with high levels of FLIPS ubiquitination, USP8 appeared to control FLIPS ubiquitination through an intermediate target. Consistent with this idea, over-expression of WT USP8 decreased ubiquitination of the FLIPS E3 ubiquitin ligase AIP4, an event previously shown to increase AIP4-FLIPS interaction, while siRNA-mediated suppression of USP8 increased AIP4 ubiquitination. Furthermore, the suppression of FLIPS levels by USP8 over-expression was reversed by introduction of siRNA targeting AIP4. These results show that USP8, a downstream target of Akt, regulates the ability of AIP4 to control FLIPS stability and TRAIL sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2891229  PMID: 20484045
glioblastoma; TRAIL; ubiquitin; PTEN; USP8
12.  Regulation of behavioral circadian rhythms and clock protein PER1 by the deubiquitinating enzyme USP2 
Biology Open  2012;1(8):789-801.
Endogenous 24-hour rhythms are generated by circadian clocks located in most tissues. The molecular clock mechanism is based on feedback loops involving clock genes and their protein products. Post-translational modifications, including ubiquitination, are important for regulating the clock feedback mechanism. Previous work has focused on the role of ubiquitin ligases in the clock mechanism. Here we show a role for the rhythmically-expressed deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin specific peptidase 2 (USP2) in clock function. Mice with a deletion of the Usp2 gene (Usp2 KO) display a longer free-running period of locomotor activity rhythms and altered responses of the clock to light. This was associated with altered expression of clock genes in synchronized Usp2 KO mouse embryonic fibroblasts and increased levels of clock protein PERIOD1 (PER1). USP2 can be coimmunoprecipitated with several clock proteins but directly interacts specifically with PER1 and deubiquitinates it. Interestingly, this deubiquitination does not alter PER1 stability. Taken together, our results identify USP2 as a new core component of the clock machinery and demonstrate a role for deubiquitination in the regulation of the circadian clock, both at the level of the core pacemaker and its response to external cues.
PMCID: PMC3507220  PMID: 23213472
Circadian clock; Locomotor activity rhythms; PER1; Ubiquitin; USP2
13.  Ubiquitin-specific proteases 7 and 11 modulate Polycomb regulation of the INK4a tumour suppressor 
The EMBO Journal  2010;29(15):2553-2565.
An important facet of transcriptional repression by Polycomb repressive complex 1 (PRC1) is the mono-ubiquitination of histone H2A by the combined action of the Posterior sex combs (Psc) and Sex combs extra (Sce) proteins. Here, we report that two ubiquitin-specific proteases, USP7 and USP11, co-purify with human PRC1-type complexes through direct interactions with the Psc orthologues MEL18 and BMI1, and with other PRC1 components. Ablation of either USP7 or USP11 in primary human fibroblasts results in de-repression of the INK4a tumour suppressor accompanied by loss of PRC1 binding at the locus and a senescence-like proliferative arrest. Mechanistically, USP7 and USP11 regulate the ubiquitination status of the Psc and Sce proteins themselves, thereby affecting their turnover and abundance. Our results point to a novel function for USPs in the regulation and function of Polycomb complexes.
PMCID: PMC2928679  PMID: 20601937
chromatin; INK4a; Polycomb; transcription; ubiquitination
14.  The ubiquitin-specific protease USP47 is a novel β-TRCP interactor regulating cell survival 
Oncogene  2009;29(9):10.1038/onc.2009.430.
Ubiquitin-specific proteases (USPs) are a subclass of cysteine proteases that catalyze the removal of ubiquitin (either monomeric or chains) from substrates, thus counteracting the activity of E3 ubiquitin ligases. Although the importance of USPs in a multitude of processes, from hereditary cancer to neurodegeneration, is well established, our knowledge on their mode of regulation, substrate specificity and biological function is quite limited. In this study we identify USP47 as a novel interactor of the E3 ubiquitin ligase, Skp1/Cul1/F-box protein β-transducin repeat-containing protein (SCFβ-Trcp). We found that both β-Trcp1 and β-Trcp2 bind specifically to USP47, and point mutations in the β-Trcp WD-repeat region completely abolished USP47 binding, indicating an E3-substrate-type interaction. However, unlike canonical β-Trcp substrates, USP47 protein levels were neither affected by silencing of β-Trcp nor modulated in a variety of processes, such as cell-cycle progression, DNA damage checkpoint responses or tumor necrosis factor (TNF) pathway activation. Notably, genetic or siRNA-mediated depletion of USP47 induced accumulation of Cdc25A, decreased cell survival and augmented the cytotoxic effects of anticancer drugs. In conclusion, we showed that USP47, a novel β-Trcp interactor, regulates cell growth and survival, potentially providing a novel target for anticancer therapies.
PMCID: PMC3869786  PMID: 19966869
ubiquitin; F-box proteins; β-Trcp; degradation
15.  Deubiquitinase USP9x Confers Radioresistance through Stabilization of Mcl-112 
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.)  2012;14(10):893-904.
Myeloid cell leukemia sequence 1 (Mcl-1), an antiapoptotic member of the Bcl-2 family, is often overexpressed in tumor cells limiting the therapeutic success. Mcl-1 differs from other Bcl-2 members by its high turnover rate. Its expression level is tightly regulated by ubiquitylating and deubiquitylating enzymes. Interaction of Mcl-1 with certain Bcl-2 homology domain 3 (BH3)-only members of the Bcl-2 family can limit the access to Mcl-1 ubiquitin ligase E3 and stabilizes the antiapoptotic protein. In addition, the overexpression of the deubiquitinase ubiquitin-specific protease 9x (USP9x) can result in the accumulation of Mcl-1 by removing poly-ubiquitin chains from Mcl-1 preventing its proteasomal degradation. Analyzing radiation-induced apoptosis in Jurkat cells, we found that Mcl-1 was downregulated more efficiently in sensitive parental cells than in a resistant subclone. The decline of Mcl-1 correlated with cell death induction and clonogenic survival. Knockdown of BH3-only proteins Bim, Puma, and Noxa did not affect Mcl-1 level or radiation-induced apoptosis. However, ionizing radiation resulted in activation of USP9x and enhanced deubiquitination of Mcl-1 in the radioresistant cells preventing fast Mcl-1 degradation. USP9x knockdown enhanced radiation-induced decrease of Mcl-1 and sensitized the radioresistant cells to apoptosis induction, whereas USP9x knockdown alone did not change Mcl-1 level in unirradiated cells. Together, our results indicate that radiation-induced activation of USP9x inhibits Mcl-1 degradation and apoptosis resulting in increased radioresistance.
PMCID: PMC3479835  PMID: 23097624
16.  Suppression of Cancer Cell Growth by Promoting Cyclin D1 Degradation 
Molecular cell  2009;36(3):469-476.
The cyclin D1 proto-oncoprotein is a crucial regulator in cell cycle progression and aberrant overexpression of cyclin D1 is linked to tumorigenesis of many different cancer types. By screening ubiquitinated cyclin D1 as a substrate with a deubiquitinase library, we have identified USP2 as a specific deubiquitinase for cyclin D1. USP2 directly interacts with cyclin D1 and promotes its stabilization by antagonizing ubiquitin-dependent degradation. Conversely, USP2 knockdown destabilizes cyclin D1 and induces growth arrest in the human cancer lines where cell growth is dependent on cyclin D1 expression. Notably, cyclin D1 is not universally required for cell cycle progression. Inactivation of USP2 has either very mild effects on cell growth in normal human fibroblasts or no effect in the cancer cells that do not express cyclin D1. These findings suggest that targeting USP2 is an effective approach to induce growth suppression in the cancer cells addicted to cyclin D1 expression.
PMCID: PMC2856324  PMID: 19917254
cyclin D1; USP2; deubiquitination; cell cycle
17.  The ubiquitin specific protease USP34 promotes ubiquitin signaling at DNA double-strand breaks 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(18):8572-8580.
Ubiquitylation plays key roles in DNA damage signal transduction. The current model envisions that lysine63-linked ubiquitin chains, via the concerted action of E3 ubiquitin ligases RNF8-RNF168, are built at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) to effectively assemble DNA damage-repair factors for proper checkpoint control and DNA repair. We found that RNF168 is a short-lived protein that is stabilized by the deubiquitylating enzyme USP34 in response to DNA damage. In the absence of USP34, RNF168 is rapidly degraded, resulting in attenuated DSB-associated ubiquitylation, defective recruitment of BRCA1 and 53BP1 and compromised cell survival after ionizing radiation. We propose that USP34 promotes a feed-forward loop to enforce ubiquitin signaling at DSBs and highlight critical roles of ubiquitin dynamics in genome stability maintenance.
PMCID: PMC3794584  PMID: 23863847
18.  USP4 Positively Regulates RIG-I-Mediated Antiviral Response through Deubiquitination and Stabilization of RIG-I 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(8):4507-4515.
Protein ubiquitination plays an essential role in the regulation of retinoic acid-inducible gene I (RIG-I) activation and the antiviral immune response. However, the function of the opposite process of deubiquitination in RIG-I activation remains elusive. In this study, we have identified the deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin-specific protease 4 (USP4) as a new regulator for RIG-I activation through deubiquitination and stabilization of RIG-I. USP4 expression was attenuated after virus-induced RIG-I activation. Overexpression of USP4 significantly enhanced RIG-I protein expression and RIG-I-triggered beta interferon (IFN-β) signaling and, at the same time, inhibited vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) replication. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown of USP4 expression had an opposite effect. Furthermore, USP4 was found to interact with RIG-I and remove K48-linked polyubiquitination chains from RIG-I. Therefore, we identified USP4 as a new positive regulator for RIG-I that acts through deubiquitinating K48-linked ubiquitin chains and stabilizing RIG-I.
PMCID: PMC3624380  PMID: 23388719
19.  The deubiquitinating protein USP24 interacts with DDB2 and regulates DDB2 stability 
Cell Cycle  2012;11(23):4378-4384.
Damage-specific DNA-binding protein 2 (DDB2) was first isolated as a subunit of the UV-DDB heterodimeric complex that is involved in DNA damage recognition in the nucleotide excision repair pathway (NER). DDB2 is required for efficient repair of CPDs in chromatin and is a component of the CRL4DDB2 E3 ligase that targets XPC, histones and DDB2 itself for ubiquitination. In this study, a yeast two-hybrid screening of a human cDNA library was performed to identify potential DDB2 cellular partners. We identified a deubiquitinating enzyme, USP24, as a likely DDB2-interacting partner. Interaction between DDB2 and USP24 was confirmed by co-precipitation. Importantly, knockdown of USP24 in two human cell lines decreased the steady-state levels of DDB2, indicating that USP24-mediated DDB2 deubiquitination prevents DDB2 degradation. In addition, we demonstrated that USP24 can cleave an ubiquitinated form of DDB2 in vitro. Taken together, our results suggest that the ubiquitin-specific protease USP24 is a novel regulator of DDB2 stability.
PMCID: PMC3552920  PMID: 23159851
DDB2; UV-DDB; nucleotide excision repair; yeast two-hybrid; USP24; deubiquitination; deubiquitinase; XPE
20.  Enhancement of Proteasome Activity by a Small-Molecule Inhibitor of Usp14 
Nature  2010;467(7312):179-184.
Proteasomes, the primary mediators of ubiquitin-protein conjugate degradation, are regulated through complex and poorly understood mechanisms. Here we show that Usp14, a proteasome-associated deubiquitinating enzyme, can inhibit the degradation of ubiquitin-protein conjugates, in vivo and in vitro. A catalytically inactive variant of Usp14 has reduced inhibitory activity, suggesting that inhibition is mediated by trimming of the ubiquitin chain on the substrate. A high-throughput screen identified a selective small-molecule inhibitor of the deubiquitinating activity of human Usp14. Treatment of cultured cells with this compound enhanced degradation of several proteasome substrates that have been implicated in neurodegenerative disease. Usp14 inhibition accelerated the degradation of oxidized proteins and enhanced resistance to oxidative stress. Enhancement of proteasome activity through inhibition of Usp14 may offer a strategy to reduce the levels of aberrant proteins in cells under proteotoxic stress.
PMCID: PMC2939003  PMID: 20829789
21.  Biosynthetic Enzyme GMP Synthetase Cooperates with Ubiquitin-Specific Protease 7 in Transcriptional Regulation of Ecdysteroid Target Genes▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;30(3):736-744.
Drosophila GMP synthetase binds ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) and is required for its ability to deubiquitylate histone H2B. Previously, we showed that the GMPS/USP7 complex cooperates with the Polycomb silencing system through removal of the active ubiquitin mark from histone H2B (H2Bub). Here, we explored the interplay between GMPS and USP7 further and assessed their role in hormone-regulated gene expression. Genetic analysis established a strong cooperation between GMPS and USP7, which is counteracted by the histone H2B ubiquitin ligase BRE1. Loss of either GMPS or USP7 led to increased levels of histone H2Bub in mutant animals. These in vivo analyses complement our earlier biochemical results, establishing that GMPS/USP7 mediates histone H2B deubiquitylation. We found that GMPS/USP7 binds ecdysone-regulated loci and that mutants display severe misregulation of ecdysone target genes. Ecdysone receptor (EcR) interacts biochemically and genetically with GMPS/USP7. Genetic and gene expression analyses suggested that GMPS/USP7 acts as a transcriptional corepressor. These results revealed the cooperation between a biosynthetic enzyme and a ubiquitin protease in developmental gene control by hormone receptors.
PMCID: PMC2812229  PMID: 19995917
22.  Direct and Indirect Control of Mitogen-activated Protein Kinase Pathway-associated Components, BRAP/IMP E3 Ubiquitin Ligase and CRAF/RAF1 Kinase, by the Deubiquitylating Enzyme USP15* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2012;287(51):43007-43018.
Background: Deubiquitylases (DUBs) oppose the action of E3-ligases and influence key signalling pathways.
Results: USP15 stabilizes the E3 ligase BRAP/IMP, regulates CRAF expression, and is a positive regulator of MEK.
Conclusion: USP15 is a positive regulator of the MAPK pathway while stabilizing the E3 ligase BRAP/IMP.
Significance: Evidence is provided for novel modes of MAPK pathway regulation by DUBs.
The opposing regulators of ubiquitylation status, E3 ligases and deubiquitylases, are often found to be associated in complexes. Here we report on a novel interaction between the E3 ligase BRAP (also referred to as IMP), a negative regulator of the MAPK scaffold protein KSR, and two closely related deubiquitylases, USP15 and USP4. We map the interaction to the N-terminal DUSP-UBL domain of USP15 and the coiled coil region of BRAP. USP15 as well as USP4 oppose the autoubiquitylation of BRAP, whereas BRAP promotes the ubiquitylation of USP15. Importantly, USP15 but not USP4 depletion destabilizes BRAP by promoting its proteasomal degradation, and BRAP-protein levels can be rescued by reintroducing catalytically active but not inactive mutant USP15. Unexpectedly, USP15 depletion results in a decrease in amplitude of MAPK signaling in response to EGF and PDGF. We provide evidence for a model in which the dominant effect of prolonged USP15 depletion upon signal amplitude is due to a decrease in CRAF levels while allowing for the possibility that USP15 may also function to dampen MAPK signaling through direct stabilization of a negative regulator, the E3 ligase BRAP.
PMCID: PMC3522295  PMID: 23105109
Deubiquitination; E3 Ubiquitin Ligase; MAP Kinases (MAPKs); Raf; Ubiquitin; BRAP; CRAF; DUB; IMP; USP15
23.  Regulation of Universal Stress Protein Genes by Quorum Sensing and RpoS in Burkholderia glumae 
Journal of Bacteriology  2012;194(5):982-992.
Burkholderia glumae possesses a quorum-sensing (QS) system mediated by N-octanoyl-homoserine lactone (C8-HSL) and its cognate receptor TofR. TofR/C8-HSL regulates the expression of a transcriptional regulator, qsmR. We identified one of the universal stress proteins (Usps), Usp2, from a genome-wide analysis of QS-dependent proteomes of B. glumae. In the whole genome of B. glumae BGR1, 11 usp genes (usp1 to usp11) were identified. Among the stress conditions tested, usp1 and usp2 mutants died 1 h after heat shock stress, whereas the other usp mutants and the wild-type strain survived for more than 3 h at 45°C. The expressions of all usp genes were positively regulated by QS, directly by QsmR. In addition, the expressions of usp1 and usp2 were dependent on RpoS in the stationary phase, as confirmed by the direct binding of RpoS-RNA holoenzyme to the promoter regions of the usp1 and usp2 genes. The expression of usp1 was upregulated upon a temperature shift from 37°C to either 28°C or 45°C, whereas the expression of usp2 was independent of temperature stress. This indicates that the regulation of usp1 and usp2 expression is different from what is known about Escherichia coli. Compared to the diverse roles of Usps in E. coli, Usps in B. glumae are dedicated to heat shock stress.
PMCID: PMC3294795  PMID: 22178971
24.  Compensatory increase in USP14 activity accompanies impaired proteasomal proteolysis during aging. 
The deubiquitinating enzyme, USP14, found in association with the proteasome is essential in mediating ubiquitin trimming and in ensuring ubiquitin-homeostasis. As aging is accompanied by a significant decline in proteasomal proteolysis in primary human T lymphocytes, we evaluated the contributory role of USP14 in this decline. Our studies for the first time demonstrate that enzymatic activity of proteasome-associated USP14 is significantly higher in T cells obtained from elderly donors. Additionally, such an increase in USP14 activity could be mimicked by chemically inhibiting the proteasome, using Lactacystin. Thus, USP14 activity appears to be reciprocally regulated by the catalytic function of the 26S proteasome. To determine whether the inhibition of USP14 activity counter regulates proteasomal proteolysis, T cells pretreated with a small molecule inhibitor of USP14, IU1, were activated and assessed for IκBα degradation as a measure of proteasomal proteolysis. While T cells obtained from young donors demonstrated increased degradation of IκBα, those from the elderly remained unaffected by IU1 pretreatment. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the decrease in proteolysis of proteasomal substrates during aging is independent of the increased USP14 activity and that the reciprocal regulation of USP14 and proteasomal catalytic activity may be necessary to maintain cellular ubiquitin homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC3558606  PMID: 23291607
Aging; T Lymphocytes; Proteasome; Deubiquitinating enzyme; USP14; Ubiquitin
25.  The Deubiquitylase USP37 Links REST to the Control of p27 Stability and Cell Proliferation 
Oncogene  2012;32(13):1691-1701.
The RE1 Silencing Transcription Factor (REST) is a repressor of neuronal differentiation and its elevated expression in neural cells blocks neuronal differentiation. In the present study, we demonstrate a role for REST in the control of proliferation of medulloblastoma cells. REST expression decreased the levels of CDKNIB/p27, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and a brake of cell proliferation in these cells. The reciprocal relationship between REST and p27 was validated in human tumor samples. REST knockdown in medulloblastoma cells derepessed a novel REST-target gene encoding the deubiquitylase ubiquitin-specific peptidase 37 (USP37). Ectopically expressed wild type USP37 formed a complex with p27, promoted its deubiquitination and stabilization and blocked cell proliferation. Knockdown of REST and USP37 prevented p27 stabilization and blocked the diminution in proliferative potential that normally accompanied REST loss. Unexpectedly, wild type USP37 expression also induced the expression of REST-target neuronal differentiation genes even though REST levels were unaffected. In contrast, a mutant of USP37 carrying a site-directed change in a conserved cysteine failed to rescue REST-mediated p27 destabilization, maintenance of cell proliferation and blockade to neuronal differentiation. Consistent with these findings, a significant correlation between USP37 and p27 was observed in patient tumors. Collectively, these findings provide a novel connection between REST and the proteasomal machinery in the control of p27 and cell proliferation in medulloblastoma cells.
PMCID: PMC3435483  PMID: 22665064
REST; proliferation; p27; USP37; deubiquitylase

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