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Although E3 ubiquitin ligases are deemed to play key roles in normal cell function and homeostasis, whether their alterations contribute to cancer pathogenesis remains unclear. In this study, we sought to investigate potential mechanisms that govern WWP1/Tiul1 (WWP1) ubiquitin ligase activity, focusing on its ability to trigger degradation of TGFβ type I receptor (TβRI) in conjunction with Smad7. Our data reveal that the WWP1 protein is very stable at steady states because its autopolyubiquitination activity is silenced due to an intra-interaction between the C2 and/or WW and Hect domains that favors WWP1 monoubiquitination at the expense of its polyubiquitination or polyubiquitination of TβRI. Upon binding of WWP1 to Smad7, this functional interplay is disabled, switching its monoubiquitination activity toward a polyubiquitination activity, thereby driving its own degradation and that of TβRI as well. Intriguingly, a WWP1 point mutation found in human prostate cancer disrupts this regulatory mechanism by relieving the inhibitory effects of C2 and WW on Hect and thereby causing WWP1 hyperactivation. That cancer-driven alteration of WWP1 culminates in excessive TβRI degradation and attenuated TGFβ cytostatic signaling, a consequence that could conceivably confer tumorigenic properties to WWP1. © 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Thomas Courivaud, Nathalie Ferrand, Abdelouahid Elkhattouti, Santosh Kumar, Laurence Levy, Olivier Ferrigno, Azeddine Atfi, Céline Prunier. Functional Characterization of a WWP1/Tiul1 Tumor-derived Mutant Reveals a Paradigm of Its Constitutive Activation in Human Cancer. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2015 Aug 21;290(34):21007-21018

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PMID: 26152726

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