Ubiquitination is a reversible posttranslational modification that is essential for cell cycle control, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the removal of ubiquitin from proteins by deubiquitinating enzymes (DUB) is equally important. In this study, we have identified high levels of the DUB USP17 in several tumor-derived cell lines and primary lung, colon, esophagus, and cervix tumor biopsies. We also report that USP17 is tightly regulated during the cell cycle in all the cells examined, being abundantly evident in G1 and absent in S phase. Moreover, regulated USP17 expression was necessary for cell cycle progression because its depletion significantly impaired G1-S transition and blocked cell proliferation. Previously, we have shown that USP17 regulates the intracellular translocation and activation of the GTPase Ras by controlling Ras-converting enzyme 1 (RCE1) activation. RCE1 also regulates the processing of other proteins with a CAAX motif, including Rho family GTPases. We now show that USP17 depletion blocks Ras and RhoA localization and activation. Moreover, our results confirm that USP17-depleted cells have constitutively elevated levels of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21cip1 and p27kip1, known downstream targets of Ras and RhoA signaling. These observations clearly show that USP17 is tightly regulated during cell division and that its expression is necessary to coordinate cell cycle progression, and thus, it may be considered a promising novel cancer therapeutic target. Cancer Res; 70(8); 3329–39. ©2010 AACR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research