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The E3 ubiquitin ligase ring finger protein 115 (RNF115) is overexpressed in more than half of human breast tumors and is implicated in the pathogenesis and progression of breast cancer. However, the mechanism behind RNF115 overexpression in breast tumors remains largely unknown. Here we report that ubiquitin-specific protease 9X (USP9X), a substrate-specific deubiquitinating enzyme, stabilizes RNF115 and thereby regulates its biological functions in breast cancer cells. Immunoprecipitation and GST pull-down assays showed that USP9X interacted with RNF115. Depletion of RNF115 by siRNAs or overexpression of RNF115 did not significantly affect USP9X expression. In contrast, knockdown of USP9X in breast cancer cells by siRNAs reduced RNF115 protein abundance, which was partially restored following treatment with proteasome inhibitor MG-132. Moreover, depletion of USP9X reduced the half-life of RNF115 and increased its ubiquitination. Conversely, overexpression of USP9X resulted in an accumulation of RNF115 protein, accompanied by a decrease in its ubiquitination. RNF115 mRNA levels were unaffected by overexpression or knockdown of USP9X. Furthermore, USP9X protein expression levels correlated positively with RNF115 in breast cancer cell lines and breast tumor samples. Importantly, reintroduction of RNF115 in USP9X-depleted cells partially rescued the reduced proliferation, migration, and invasion of breast cancer cells by USP9X knockdown. Collectively, these findings indicate that USP9X is a stabilizer of RNF115 protein and that the USP9X-RNF115 signaling axis is implicated in the breast cancer malignant phenotype. © 2019 The Authors. Cancer Science published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Japanese Cancer Association.


Qin Lu, Dayun Lu, Zhi-Ming Shao, Da-Qiang Li. Deubiquitinase ubiquitin-specific protease 9X regulates the stability and function of E3 ubiquitin ligase ring finger protein 115 in breast cancer cells. Cancer science. 2019 Apr;110(4):1268-1278

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PMID: 30689267

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