USP7 facilitates SMAD3 autoregulation to repress cancer progression in p53-deficient lung cancer

Yu Ting Huang, An Chieh Cheng, Hui Chi Tang, Guo Cheng Huang, Ling Cai, Ta Hsien Lin, Kou Juey Wu, Ping Hui Tseng, Greg G. Wang, Wei Yi Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

USP7, one of the most abundant ubiquitin-specific proteases (USP), plays multifaceted roles in many cellular events, including oncogenic pathways. Accumulated studies have suggested that USP7, through modulating the MDM2/MDMX-p53 pathway, is a promising target for cancer treatment; however, little is known about the function of USP7 in p53-deficient tumors. Here we report that USP7 regulates the autoregulation of SMAD3, a key regulator of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signaling, that represses the cell progression of p53-deficient lung cancer. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated inactivation of USP7 in p53-deficient lung cancer H1299 line resulted in advanced cell proliferation in vitro and in xenograft tumor in vivo. Genome-wide analyses (ChIP-seq and RNA-seq) of USP7 KO H1299 cells reveal a dramatic reduction of SMAD3 autoregulation, including decreased gene expression and blunted function of associated super-enhancer (SE). Furthermore, biochemical assays show that SMAD3 is conjugated by mono-ubiquitin, which negatively regulates the DNA-binding function of SMAD3, in USP7 KO cells. In addition, cell-free and cell-based analyses further demonstrate that the deubiquitinase activity of USP7 mediates the removal of mono-ubiquitin from SMAD3 and facilitates the DNA-binding of SMAD3-SMAD4 dimer at SMAD3 locus, and thus enhance the autoregulation of SMAD3. Collectively, our study identified a novel mechanism by which USP7, through catalyzing the SMAD3 de-monoubiquitination, facilitates the positive autoregulation of SMAD3, and represses the cancer progression of p53-deficient lung cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number880
JournalCell Death and Disease
Volume12
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

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