Gene Summary

Gene:CUL1; cullin 1
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 01 September 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Prostate Cancer
  • MicroRNAs
  • Mutation
  • Cullin Proteins
  • RNA Interference
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Messenger RNA
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Movement
  • alpha-Crystallin B Chain
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex
  • S-Phase Kinase-Associated Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • PCNA
  • Protein-Arginine N-Methyltransferases
  • F-Box Proteins
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • F-Box-WD Repeat-Containing Protein 7
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Signal Transduction
  • Cell Cycle
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • beta-Transducin Repeat-Containing Proteins
  • Chromosome 7
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Western Blotting
  • SKP Cullin F-Box Protein Ligases
  • Proteolysis
  • Breast Cancer
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3
  • Protein Binding
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: CUL1 (cancer-related)

Liu F, Zou Y, Wang F, et al.
Genet Test Mol Biomarkers. 2019; 23(6):409-417 [PubMed] Related Publications

Shevchenko V, Arnotskaya N, Korneyko M, et al.
Proteins of the Wnt signaling pathway as targets for the regulation of CD133+ cancer stem cells in glioblastoma.
Oncol Rep. 2019; 41(5):3080-3088 [PubMed] Related Publications
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is one of the most aggressive types of brain tumor and is highly resistant to therapy. The median survival time for patients with GBM is 15 months. GBM resistance to treatment is associated with cancer stem cells (CSCs). CD133 membrane glycoprotein is the best‑known marker of GBM CSCs. The Wnt signaling pathway plays an important role in the proliferation of all stem cells. To the best of our knowledge, the present study was the first to examine the expression levels of proteins associated with the Wnt signaling pathway in СD133+ CSCs of human GBM. Furthermore, potential targets that may regulate СD133+ CSCs in human GBM were investigated. The human GBM U‑87MG cell line was cultured in neurobasal medium supplemented with B27, fibroblast growth factor, epidermal growth factor and no serum. Immunohistochemical characteristics of glioma spheres were investigated based on the expression of key markers of CSCs. CD133+ cells were extracted from glioma spheres by cell sorting and then lysed. High‑performance liquid chromatography‑mass spectrometry was used for proteome analysis. Lysates of CD133‑ cells in GBM were used for comparison. The present study was the first to describe the conceptual proteome differences between GBM and CD133+ CSCs of the common pool. Major differences were identified in the glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, focal adhesion, tight junction and Wnt signaling pathways. This study aimed to analyze the crucial role that proteins of the Wnt signaling pathway play in stem cell proliferation. The identified proteins were analyzed for their association with the Wnt signaling pathway using the international open databases PubMed, Protein Analysis Through Evolutionary Relationships, Gene Ontology, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes and Search Tool for the Retrieval of Interacting Genes/Proteins. An increased expression of 12 proteins associated with the Wnt signaling pathway were identified in GBM CD133+ CSCs, which included catenin β‑1, disheveled associated activator of morphogenesis 1, RAC family small GTPase 2 and RAS homolog gene family member A, a number of which are also associated with adherens junctions. The Wnt signaling pathway is not upregulated in CSCs; however, the high expression levels of adenomatous polyposis coli, β‑catenin, C‑terminal binding protein (CtBP) and RuvB‑like AAA ATPase 1 (RUVBL1 or Pontin52) proteins suggest the possibility of alternative activation of specific genes in the nuclei of these cells. Calcyclin‑binding protein, casein kinase II α, casein kinase II β, CtBP1, CtBP2, CUL1 and RUVBL1 proteins may be used as targets for the pharmaceutical regulation of CSCs in complex GBM treatment.

Alfano L, Caporaso A, Altieri A, et al.
NONO ubiquitination is mediated by FBW7 and GSK3 β via a degron lost upon chromosomal rearrangement in cancer.
J Cell Physiol. 2018; 233(5):4338-4344 [PubMed] Related Publications
NONO is an RNA-binding protein involved in transcription, mRNA splicing, DNA repair, and checkpoint activation in response to UV radiation. NONO expression has been found altered in several tumor types, including prostate, colon, breast, melanoma, and in papillary renal carcinoma, in which an X chromosome inversion generates a NONO-TFE3 fusion protein. Upon such rearrangement, NONO loses its C-terminal domain. Through bioinformatics analysis, we identified a putative degron motif, known to be recognized by the Skp1-Cul1-F-box-protein (SCF) complex. Here, we evaluated how this domain could affect NONO protein biology. We showed that NONO interacts with the nuclear FBW7α isoform and its ubiquitination is regulated following modulation of the GSK3β kinase. Mutation of T428A/T432A within the degron impaired polyubiquitination upon FBW7α and GSK3β overexpression. Overall, our data suggest that NONO is likely subjected to proteasome-mediated degradation and add NONO to the list of proteins targeted by FBW7, which is itself often deregulated in cancer.

Qie S, Majumder M, Mackiewicz K, et al.
Fbxo4-mediated degradation of Fxr1 suppresses tumorigenesis in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8(1):1534 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The Fbxo4 tumour suppressor is a component of an Skp1-Cul1-F-box E3 ligase for which two substrates are known. Here we show purification of SCF

Galper J, Rayner SL, Hogan AL, et al.
Cyclin F: A component of an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex with roles in neurodegeneration and cancer.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2017; 89:216-220 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cyclin F, encoded by CCNF, is the substrate recognition component of the Skp1-Cul1-F-box E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, SCF

Kuchay S, Giorgi C, Simoneschi D, et al.
PTEN counteracts FBXL2 to promote IP3R3- and Ca
Nature. 2017; 546(7659):554-558 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In response to environmental cues that promote IP3 (inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate) generation, IP3 receptors (IP3Rs) located on the endoplasmic reticulum allow the 'quasisynaptical' feeding of calcium to the mitochondria to promote oxidative phosphorylation. However, persistent Ca

Cheng Q, Yin G
Cullin-1 regulates MG63 cell proliferation and metastasis and is a novel prognostic marker of osteosarcoma.
Int J Biol Markers. 2017; 32(2):e202-e209 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: There is no reliable marker available for early detection, diagnostic confirmation or disease prognosis of osteosarcoma. Cullin-1 (CUL1) is a newly reported tumor-related gene, and we aimed to unravel its role in osteosarcoma.
METHODS: We used immunohistochemistry to analyze the correlation between CUL1 expression and clinicopathological variables and patient survival. To evaluate the function of CUL1, a group of 28 osteosarcoma patients were recruited for this study. The role of regulation of CUL1 in osteosarcoma was studied in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we further investigated the signaling pathway of CUL1 in osteosarcoma progression.
RESULTS: We first discovered that CUL1 expression was up-regulated in human osteosarcoma tissues and inversely correlated with osteosarcoma differentiation. In addition, CUL1 promotes osteosarcoma cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. We also found that CUL1 promotes osteosarcoma cell invasion and metastasis in vitro and in vivo. High levels of CUL1 promote osteosarcoma progression via up-regulation of MMP9 expression.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that increased CUL1 expression is significantly correlated with poor prognosis of patients with osteosarcoma. CUL1 might be an important marker and a therapeutic target for osteosarcoma.

Malek E, Abdel-Malek MA, Jagannathan S, et al.
Pharmacogenomics and chemical library screens reveal a novel SCF
Leukemia. 2017; 31(3):645-653 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
While clinical benefit of the proteasome inhibitor (PI) bortezomib (BTZ) for multiple myeloma (MM) patients remains unchallenged, dose-limiting toxicities and drug resistance limit the long-term utility. The E3 ubiquitin ligase Skp1-Cullin-1-Skp2 (SCF

Suryo Rahmanto A, Savov V, Brunner A, et al.
FBW7 suppression leads to SOX9 stabilization and increased malignancy in medulloblastoma.
EMBO J. 2016; 35(20):2192-2212 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
SOX9 is a master transcription factor that regulates development and stem cell programs. However, its potential oncogenic activity and regulatory mechanisms that control SOX9 protein stability are poorly understood. Here, we show that SOX9 is a substrate of FBW7, a tumor suppressor, and a SCF (SKP1/CUL1/F-box)-type ubiquitin ligase. FBW7 recognizes a conserved degron surrounding threonine 236 (T236) in SOX9 that is phosphorylated by GSK3 kinase and consequently degraded by SCF

Zhou Y, Lin S, Tseng KF, et al.
Selumetinib suppresses cell proliferation, migration and trigger apoptosis, G1 arrest in triple-negative breast cancer cells.
BMC Cancer. 2016; 16(1):818 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has aggressive progression with poor prognosis and ineffective treatments. Selumetinib is an allosteric, ATP-noncompetitive inhibitor of MEK1/2, which has benn known as effective antineoplastic drugs for several malignant tumors. We hypothesized that Selumetinib might be potential drug for TNBC and explore the mechanism.
METHODS: After treated with Selumetinib, the viability and mobility of HCC1937 and MDA-MB-231 were detected by MTT, tunnel, wound-healing assay, transwell assay and FCM methods. MiR array was used to analysis the change of miRs. We predicted and verified CUL1 is the target of miR-302a using Luciferase reporter assay. We also silenced the CUL1 by siRNA, to clarify whether CUL1 take part in the cell proliferation, migration and regulated its substrate TIMP1 and TRAF2. Moreover, after transfection, the antagomir of miR-302a and CUL1 over-expressed plasmid into HCC1937 and MDA-MB-231 cell accompanied with the Selumetinib treatment, we detected the proliferation and migration again.
RESULTS: Selumetinib reduce the proliferation, migration, triggered apoptosis and G1 arrest in TNBC cell lines. In this process, the miR-302a was up-regulated and inhibited the CUL1 expression. The later negatively regulated the TIMP1 and TRAF2. As soon as we knockdown miR-302a and over-expression CUL1 in TNBC cells, the cytotoxicity of Selumetinib was reversed.
CONCLUSIONS: MiR-302a targeted regulated the CUL1 expression and mediated the Selumetinib-induced cytotoxicity of triple-negative breast cancer.

Mao SY, Xiong DB, Huang TB, et al.
Expression of CUL1 correlates with tumour-grade and recurrence in urothelial carcinoma.
ANZ J Surg. 2017; 87(7-8):624-629 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Urothelial carcinoma (UC) is a major health problem in the general population. We aimed to evaluate the function of Cullin-1 (CUL1) and unravel its underlying molecular mechanism to develop novel treatment options equivalent to UC.
METHODS: To evaluate the function of CUL1, a group of 132 pairs of UC patients were recruited for this study. UC tissues and their adjacent noncancerous tissues (NCTs) were collected between 2008 and 2009. We used immunohistochemistry to analyse the correlation between CUL1 expression and clinicopathologic variables and patient survival.
RESULTS: CUL1 was dramatically overexpressed in high-grade UC tissues compared with low-grade UC tissues. CUL1 up-regulation in recurrence cases in comparison with the non-recurrence cases. CUL1 expression upregulated in human UC tissues versus NCTs. CUL1 protein expression associated with androgen receptor.
CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate that increased CUL1 expression is significantly correlated with poor prognosis of patients with UC. CUL1 might be an important marker and a therapeutic target for UC.

Hernández-Ramírez LC, Martucci F, Morgan RM, et al.
Rapid Proteasomal Degradation of Mutant Proteins Is the Primary Mechanism Leading to Tumorigenesis in Patients With Missense AIP Mutations.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016; 101(8):3144-54 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CONTEXT: The pathogenic effect of mutations in the aryl hydrocarbon receptor interacting protein (AIP) gene (AIPmuts) in pituitary adenomas is incompletely understood. We have identified the primary mechanism of loss of function for missense AIPmuts.
OBJECTIVE: This study sought to analyze the mechanism/speed of protein turnover of wild-type and missense AIP variants, correlating protein half-life with clinical parameters.
DESIGN AND SETTING: Half-life and protein-protein interaction experiments and cross-sectional analysis of AIPmut positive patients' data were performed in a clinical academic research institution.
PATIENTS: Data were obtained from our cohort of pituitary adenoma patients and literature-reported cases.
INTERVENTIONS: Protein turnover of endogenous AIP in two cell lines and fifteen AIP variants overexpressed in HEK293 cells was analyzed via cycloheximide chase and proteasome inhibition. Glutathione-S-transferase pull-down and quantitative mass spectrometry identified proteins involved in AIP degradation; results were confirmed by coimmunoprecipitation and gene knockdown. Relevant clinical data was collected.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Half-life of wild-type and mutant AIP proteins and its correlation with clinical parameters.
RESULTS: Endogenous AIP half-life was similar in HEK293 and lymphoblastoid cells (43.5 and 32.7 h). AIP variants were divided into stable proteins (median, 77.7 h; interquartile range [IQR], 60.7-92.9 h), and those with short (median, 27 h; IQR, 21.6-28.7 h) or very short (median, 7.7 h; IQR, 5.6-10.5 h) half-life; proteasomal inhibition rescued the rapid degradation of mutant proteins. The experimental half-life significantly correlated with age at diagnosis of acromegaly/gigantism (r = 0.411; P = .002). The FBXO3-containing SKP1-CUL1-F-box protein complex was identified as the E3 ubiquitin-ligase recognizing AIP.
CONCLUSIONS: AIP is a stable protein, driven to ubiquitination by the SKP1-CUL1-F-box protein complex. Enhanced proteasomal degradation is a novel pathogenic mechanism for AIPmuts, with direct implications for the phenotype.

Fujimoto A, Okada Y, Boroevich KA, et al.
Systematic analysis of mutation distribution in three dimensional protein structures identifies cancer driver genes.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:26483 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Protein tertiary structure determines molecular function, interaction, and stability of the protein, therefore distribution of mutation in the tertiary structure can facilitate the identification of new driver genes in cancer. To analyze mutation distribution in protein tertiary structures, we applied a novel three dimensional permutation test to the mutation positions. We analyzed somatic mutation datasets of 21 types of cancers obtained from exome sequencing conducted by the TCGA project. Of the 3,622 genes that had ≥3 mutations in the regions with tertiary structure data, 106 genes showed significant skew in mutation distribution. Known tumor suppressors and oncogenes were significantly enriched in these identified cancer gene sets. Physical distances between mutations in known oncogenes were significantly smaller than those of tumor suppressors. Twenty-three genes were detected in multiple cancers. Candidate genes with significant skew of the 3D mutation distribution included kinases (MAPK1, EPHA5, ERBB3, and ERBB4), an apoptosis related gene (APP), an RNA splicing factor (SF1), a miRNA processing factor (DICER1), an E3 ubiquitin ligase (CUL1) and transcription factors (KLF5 and EEF1B2). Our study suggests that systematic analysis of mutation distribution in the tertiary protein structure can help identify cancer driver genes.

Wu WJ, Shi J, Hu G, et al.
Wnt/β-catenin signaling inhibits FBXW7 expression by upregulation of microRNA-770 in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(5):6045-51 [PubMed] Related Publications
FBXW7 (F-box and WD repeat domain-containing 7) is the F-box protein component of a Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein-type (SCF-type) ubiquitin ligase. Previous studies have shown that FBXW7 serves as a tumor suppressor and is frequently downregulated in many types of human neoplasms. However, the molecular mechanisms for its downregulation remain poorly understood. Hyperactivation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway is viewed as crucial for tumorigenesis, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In the present study, we show that protein levels, but not message RNA, of FBXW7 were suppressed by Wnt3a treatment or transfection of a constitutively activated β-catenin in HCC cells. Besides, microRNA-770 was identified as an important downstream target of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, to inhibit FBXW7 expression through targeting its 3'-untranslated region. Thus, our results suggest a previously unknown Wnt/β catenin-miR-770-FBXW7 molecular network in the HCC development.

Chen P, Yao GD
The role of cullin proteins in gastric cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(1):29-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
The cullin proteins are a family of scaffolding proteins that associate with RING proteins and ubiquitin E3 ligases and mediate substrate-receptor bindings. Thus, cullin proteins regulate the specificity of ubiquitin targeting in the regulation of proteins involved in various cellular processes, including proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. There are seven cullin proteins that have been identified in eukaryotes: CUL1, CUL2, CUL3, CUL4A, CUL4B, CUL5, and CUL7/p53-associated parkin-like cytoplasmic protein. All of these proteins contain a conserved cullin homology domain that binds to RING box proteins. Cullin-RING ubiquitin ligase complexes are activated upon post-translational modification by neural precursor cell-expressed, developmentally downregulated protein 8. The aberrant expression of several cullin proteins has been implicated in many cancers though the significance in gastric cancer has been less well investigated. This review provides the first systematic discussion of the associations between all members of the cullin protein family and gastric cancer. Functional and regulatory mechanisms of cullin proteins in gastric carcinoma progression are also summarized along with a discussion concerning future research areas. Accumulating evidence suggests a critical role of cullin proteins in tumorigenesis, and a better understanding of the function of these individual cullin proteins and their targets will help identify potential biomarkers and therapeutic targets.

Mäki-Nevala S, Sarhadi VK, Knuuttila A, et al.
Driver Gene and Novel Mutations in Asbestos-Exposed Lung Adenocarcinoma and Malignant Mesothelioma Detected by Exome Sequencing.
Lung. 2016; 194(1):125-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Asbestos is a carcinogen linked to malignant mesothelioma (MM) and lung cancer. Some gene aberrations related to asbestos exposure are recognized, but many associated mutations remain obscure. We performed exome sequencing to determine the association of previously known mutations (driver gene mutations) with asbestos and to identify novel mutations related to asbestos exposure in lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) and MM.
METHODS: Exome sequencing was performed on DNA from 47 tumor tissues of MM (21) and LAC (26) patients, 27 of whom had been asbestos-exposed (18 MM, 9 LAC). In addition, 9 normal lung/blood samples of LAC were sequenced. Novel mutations identified from exome data were validated by amplicon-based deep sequencing. Driver gene mutations in BRAF, EGFR, ERBB2, HRAS, KRAS, MET, NRAS, PIK3CA, STK11, and ephrin receptor genes (EPHA1-8, 10 and EPHB1-4, 6) were studied for both LAC and MM, and in BAP1, CUL1, CDKN2A, and NF2 for MM.
RESULTS: In asbestos-exposed MM patients, previously non-described NF2 frameshift mutation (one) and BAP1 mutations (four) were detected. Exome data mining revealed some genes potentially associated with asbestos exposure, such as MRPL1 and SDK1. BAP1 and COPG1 mutations were seen exclusively in MM. Pathogenic KRAS mutations were common in LAC patients (42 %), both in non-exposed (n = 5) and exposed patients (n = 6). Pathogenic BRAF mutations were found in two LACs.
CONCLUSION: BAP1 mutations occurred in asbestos-exposed MM. MRPL1, SDK1, SEMA5B, and INPP4A could possibly serve as candidate genes for alterations associated with asbestos exposure. KRAS mutations in LAC were not associated with asbestos exposure.

Wu ZH, Pfeffer LM
MicroRNA regulation of F-box proteins and its role in cancer.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; 36:80-7 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small endogenous non-coding RNAs, which play critical roles in cancer development by suppressing gene expression at the post-transcriptional level. In general, oncogenic miRNAs are upregulated in cancer, while miRNAs that act as tumor suppressors are downregulated, leading to decreased expression of tumor suppressors and upregulated oncogene expression, respectively. F-box proteins function as the substrate-recognition components of the SKP1-CUL1-F-box (SCF)-ubiquitin ligase complex for the degradation of their protein targets by the ubiquitin-proteasome system. Therefore F-box proteins and miRNAs both negatively regulate target gene expression post-transcriptionally. Since each miRNA is capable of fine-tuning the expression of multiple target genes, multiple F-box proteins may be suppressed by the same miRNA. Meanwhile, one F-box proteins could be regulated by several miRNAs in different cancer types. In this review, we will focus on miRNA-mediated downregulation of various F-box proteins, the resulting stabilization of F-box protein substrates and the impact of these processes on human malignancies. We provide insight into how the miRNA: F-box protein axis may regulate cancer progression and metastasis. We also consider the broader role of F-box proteins in the regulation of pathways that are independent of the ubiquitin ligase complex and how that impacts on oncogenesis. The area of miRNAs and the F-box proteins that they regulate in cancer is an emerging field and will inform new strategies in cancer treatment.

Randle SJ, Laman H
F-box protein interactions with the hallmark pathways in cancer.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; 36:3-17 [PubMed] Related Publications
F-box proteins (FBP) are the substrate specifying subunit of Skp1-Cul1-FBP (SCF)-type E3 ubiquitin ligases and are responsible for directing the ubiquitination of numerous proteins essential for cellular function. Due to their ability to regulate the expression and activity of oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes, FBPs themselves play important roles in cancer development and progression. In this review, we provide a comprehensive overview of FBPs and their targets in relation to their interaction with the hallmarks of cancer cell biology, including the regulation of proliferation, epigenetics, migration and invasion, metabolism, angiogenesis, cell death and DNA damage responses. Each cancer hallmark is revealed to have multiple FBPs which converge on common signalling hubs or response pathways. We also highlight the complex regulatory interplay between SCF-type ligases and other ubiquitin ligases. We suggest six highly interconnected FBPs affecting multiple cancer hallmarks, which may prove sensible candidates for therapeutic intervention.

Uddin S, Bhat AA, Krishnankutty R, et al.
Involvement of F-BOX proteins in progression and development of human malignancies.
Semin Cancer Biol. 2016; 36:18-32 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Ubiquitin Proteasome System (UPS) is a core regulator with various protein components (ubiquitin-activating E1 enzymes, ubiquitin-conjugating E2 enzymes, ubiquitin-protein E3 ligases, and the 26S proteasome) which work together in a coordinated fashion to ensure the appropriate and efficient proteolysis of target substrates. E3 ubiquitin ligases are essential components of the UPS machinery, working with E1 and E2 enzymes to bind substrates and assist the transport of ubiquitin molecules onto the target protein. As the UPS controls the degradation of several oncogenes and tumor suppressors, dysregulation of this pathway leads to several human malignancies. A major category of E3 Ub ligases, the SCF (Skp-Cullin-F-box) complex, is composed of four principal components: Skp1, Cul1/Cdc53, Roc1/Rbx1/Hrt1, and an F-box protein (FBP). FBPs are the substrate recognition components of SCF complexes and function as adaptors that bring substrates into physical proximity with the rest of the SCF. Besides acting as a component of SCF complexes, FBPs are involved in DNA replication, transcription, cell differentiation and cell death. This review will highlight the recent literature on three well characterized FBPs SKP2, Fbw7, and beta-TRCP. In particular, we will focus on the involvement of these deregulated FBPs in the progression and development of various human cancers. We will also highlight some novel substrates recently identified for these FBPs.

Diniz MG, Silva Jde F, de Souza FT, et al.
Association between cell cycle gene transcription and tumor size in oral squamous cell carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(12):9717-22 [PubMed] Related Publications
Higher tumor size correlates with poor prognosis and is an independent predictive survival factor in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) patients. However, the molecular events underlining OSCC tumor evolution are poorly understood. We aimed to investigate if large OSCC tumors show different cell cycle gene transcriptional signature compared to small tumors. Seventeen fresh OSCC tumor samples with different tumor sizes (T) were included in the study. Tumors were from the tongue or from the floor of the mouth, and only three patients were nonsmokers. Samples were categorized according to clinical tumor size in tumors ≤2 cm (T1, n = 5) or tumors >2 cm (T2, n = 9; T3, n = 2; T4, n = 1). The group of tumors ≤2 cm was considered the reference group, while the larger tumors were considered the test group. We assessed the expression of 84 cell cycle genes by qRT-PCR array and normalized it to the expression of two housekeeping genes. Results were analyzed according to the formula 2(^-DeltaCt). A five-fold change cutoff was used, and p values <0.05 were considered statistically significant. Ki-67 immunohistochemistry was performed to estimate cell proliferation index. Twenty-nine genes were downregulated in the test group (larger tumors) compared to the reference group (smaller tumors). Among these genes, 13 reached statistical significance: ANAPC4, CUL1, SUMO1, KPNA2, MAD2L2, CCNG2, E2F4, NBN, CUL2, PCNA, TFDP1, KNTC1, and ATR. Ki-67 labeling index was similar in both tumor groups. Our findings suggest that the transcriptional activity of specific cell cycle genes varies according to the size of OSCC tumor, which probably reflects tumor molecular evolution and adaptation to the microenvironment.

Yan R, He L, Li Z, et al.
SCF(JFK) is a bona fide E3 ligase for ING4 and a potent promoter of the angiogenesis and metastasis of breast cancer.
Genes Dev. 2015; 29(6):672-85 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Loss of function/dysregulation of inhibitor of growth 4 (ING4) and hyperactivation of NF-κB are frequent events in many types of human malignancies. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying these remarkable aberrations are not understood. Here, we report that ING4 is physically associated with JFK. We demonstrated that JFK targets ING4 for ubiquitination and degradation through assembly of an Skp1-Cul1-F-box (SCF) complex. We showed that JFK-mediated ING4 destabilization leads to the hyperactivation of the canonical NF-κB pathway and promotes angiogenesis and metastasis of breast cancer. Significantly, the expression of JFK is markedly up-regulated in breast cancer, and the level of JFK is negatively correlated with that of ING4 and positively correlated with an aggressive clinical behavior of breast carcinomas. Our study identified SCF(JFK) as a bona fide E3 ligase for ING4 and unraveled the JFK-ING4-NF-κB axis as an important player in the development and progression of breast cancer, supporting the pursuit of JFK as a potential target for breast cancer intervention.

Wang W, Chen Y, Deng J, et al.
Cullin1 is a novel prognostic marker and regulates the cell proliferation and metastasis in colorectal cancer.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2015; 141(9):1603-12 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the precise function of Cullin1 (CUL1) in colorectal cancer (CRC).
METHODS: Immunohistochemistry was performed to test the expression of CUL1 on a CRC tissue microarray containing the tumor and corresponding normal tissues. Simultaneously, the correlation of CUL1 expression with clinicopathological parameters and survival was evaluated. CUL1 was over-expressed or knocked down in HCT116 and SW480 cells, then the cell proliferation, migration and invasion assays in vitro and in vivo were performed.
RESULTS: In this study, we found that CUL1 expression was significantly up-regulated in CRC compared with normal colon tissues. High CUL1 expression was positively associated with lymph node metastasis (P = 0.007) and tumor diameter (P = 0.052). Multivariate Cox regression analysis revealed that high CUL1 expression was an independent unfavorable prognostic factor for CRC patients (HR = 13.9, 95% confidence interval = 5.89-32.6, P < 0.001). Moreover, we found that CUL1 over-expression induced CRC cell proliferation and the growth of xenografts in nude mice via the changing of cell-cycle proteins. In addition, increased CUL1 expression in CRC cells significantly promoted cell migration and invasion abilities in vitro and peritoneal metastasis in vivo through inducing high expression of MMPs.
CONCLUSION: Our findings imply that CUL1 may serve as promising prognostic markers in CRC patients.

Yang CH, Pfeffer SR, Sims M, et al.
The oncogenic microRNA-21 inhibits the tumor suppressive activity of FBXO11 to promote tumorigenesis.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(10):6037-46 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The microRNA miR-21 is overexpressed in most human cancers and accumulating evidence indicates that it functions as an oncogene. Since miRNAs suppress the expression of their target genes, we hypothesized that some miR-21 targets may act as tumor suppressors, and thus their expression would be anticipated to be reduced by the high miR-21 levels observed in various human cancers. By microarray analysis and quantitative PCR we identified and validated FBXO11 (a member of the F-box subfamily lacking a distinct unifying domain) as a miR-21 target gene. FBXO11 is a component of the SKP1-CUL1-F-box ubiquitin ligase complex that targets proteins for ubiquitination and proteosomal degradation. By loss of function and gain of function studies, we show that FBXO11 acts as a tumor suppressor, promotes apoptosis and mediates the degradation of the oncogenic protein BCL6. The critical role that FBXO11 plays in miR-21-mediated tumorigenesis was demonstrated by a rescue experiment, in which silencing FBXO11 in miR-21KD cancer cells restored their high tumorigenicity. Expression of miR-21 and FBXO11 are inversely correlated in tumor tissue, and their expression correlates with patient survival and tumor grade. High FBXO11 expression correlates with better patient survival and lower tumor grade consistent with its tumor suppressor activity. In contrast high miR-21 expression, which correlates with poor patient survival and higher tumor grade, is consistent with its oncogenic activity. Our results identify FBXO11 as a novel miR-21 target gene, and demonstrate that the oncogenic miRNA miR-21 decreases the expression of FBXO11, which normally acts as a tumor suppressor, and thereby promotes tumorigenesis.

Guo G, Chmielecki J, Goparaju C, et al.
Whole-exome sequencing reveals frequent genetic alterations in BAP1, NF2, CDKN2A, and CUL1 in malignant pleural mesothelioma.
Cancer Res. 2015; 75(2):264-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is an aggressive neoplasm associated with asbestos exposure. Although previous studies based on candidate gene approaches have identified important common somatic mutations in MPM, these studies have focused on small sets of genes and have provided a limited view of the genetic alterations underlying this disease. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing on DNA from 22 MPMs and matched blood samples, and identified 517 somatic mutations across 490 mutated genes. Integrative analysis of mutations and somatic copy-number alterations revealed frequent genetic alterations in BAP1, NF2, CDKN2A, and CUL1. Our study presents the first unbiased view of the genomic basis of MPM.

Baumann U, Fernández-Sáiz V, Rudelius M, et al.
Disruption of the PRKCD-FBXO25-HAX-1 axis attenuates the apoptotic response and drives lymphomagenesis.
Nat Med. 2014; 20(12):1401-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
We searched for genetic alterations in human B cell lymphoma that affect the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This approach identified FBXO25 within a minimal common region of frequent deletion in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). FBXO25 encodes an orphan F-box protein that determines the substrate specificity of the SCF (SKP1-CUL1-F-box)(FBXO25) ubiquitin ligase complex. An unbiased screen uncovered the prosurvival protein HCLS1-associated protein X-1 (HAX-1) as the bona fide substrate of FBXO25 that is targeted after apoptotic stresses. Protein kinase Cδ (PRKCD) initiates this process by phosphorylating FBXO25 and HAX-1, thereby spatially directing nuclear FBXO25 to mitochondrial HAX-1. Our analyses in primary human MCL identify monoallelic loss of FBXO25 and stabilizing HAX1 phosphodegron mutations. Accordingly, FBXO25 re-expression in FBXO25-deleted MCL cells promotes cell death, whereas expression of the HAX-1 phosphodegron mutant inhibits apoptosis. In addition, knockdown of FBXO25 significantly accelerated lymphoma development in Eμ-Myc mice and in a human MCL xenotransplant model. Together we identify a PRKCD-dependent proapoptotic mechanism controlling HAX-1 stability, and we propose that FBXO25 functions as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor and that HAX1 is a proto-oncogene in MCL.

Fan YC, Zhu YS, Mei PJ, et al.
Cullin1 regulates proliferation, migration and invasion of glioma cells.
Med Oncol. 2014; 31(10):227 [PubMed] Related Publications
This study was designed to explore the role of Cullin1 (Cul1) in the pathogenesis of human glioma and to investigate the role of Cul1 in the growth, migration and invasion of glioma cells. Expression of Cul1 in 191 glioma tissues, 8 normal brain tissues and 8 tumor adjacent normal brain tissues was analyzed by tissue microarray and immunohistochemistry. Cul1 expression in human glioblastoma cells was knocked down by specific siRNA to study the effect of down-regulation of Cul1 on proliferation, invasion and migration of glioma cells. Our results showed that Cul1 expression increased significantly in tissues from the benign tumor and malignant tumor in comparison with those from the tumor-adjacent normal brain (P<0.05 for both). We did not find any correlation between Cul1 expression and clinicopathological parameters. In addition, we found that knockdown of Cul1 by RNA interference markedly inhibited cell proliferation and caused cessation of cell cycle. This reduced cell proliferation was due to G1 phase arrest as cyclinA, cyclinD1 and cyclinE were diminished, whereas p21 and p27 were up-regulated. We further demonstrated that silencing of Cul1 in glioma cells inhibited the cell migration and invasion abilities, and down-regulation of MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression greatly contributed to the reduced cell invasion and migration abilities. Our data indicated that Cul1 expression significantly increased in human glioma, and it may be involved in proliferation, migration and invasion of glioma cells.

Zhou Y, Hu HY, Meng W, et al.
MEK inhibitor effective against proliferation in breast cancer cell.
Tumour Biol. 2014; 35(9):9269-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
The targeted small-molecule drug AZD6244 is an allosteric, ATP-noncompetitive inhibitor of MEK1/2 that has shown activity against several malignant tumors. Here, we report that AZD6244 repressed cell growth and induced apoptosis and G1-phase arrest in the breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and HCC1937. Using microRNA (miRNA) arrays and quantitative RT-PCR, we found that miR-203 was up-regulated after AZD6244 treatment. In accordance with bioinformatics and luciferase activity analyses, CUL1 was found to be the direct target of miR-203. Furthermore, miR-203 inhibition and CUL1 overexpression reversed the cytotoxicity of AZD6244 on the MDA-MB-231 and HCC1937 cells. Collectively, our data indicate that miR-203 mediates the AZD6244-induced cytotoxicity of breast cancer cells and that the MEK/ERK/miR-203/CUL1 signaling pathway may participate in this process.

Xu H, Choe C, Shin SH, et al.
Silencing of KIF14 interferes with cell cycle progression and cytokinesis by blocking the p27(Kip1) ubiquitination pathway in hepatocellular carcinoma.
Exp Mol Med. 2014; 46:e97 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although it has been suggested that kinesin family member 14 (KIF14) has oncogenic potential in various cancers, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the molecular mechanism of this potential remains unknown. We aimed to elucidate the role of KIF14 in hepatocarcinogenesis by knocking down KIF14 in HCC cells that overexpressed KIF14. After KIF14 knockdown, changes in tumor cell growth, cell cycle and cytokinesis were examined. We also examined cell cycle regulatory molecules and upstream Skp1/Cul1/F-box (SCF) complex molecules. Knockdown of KIF14 resulted in suppression of cell proliferation and failure of cytokinesis, whereas KIF14 overexpression increased cell proliferation. In KIF14-silenced cells, the levels of cyclins E1, D1 and B1 were profoundly decreased compared with control cells. Of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors, the p27(Kip1) protein level specifically increased after KIF14 knockdown. The increase in p27(Kip1) was not due to elevation of its mRNA level, but was due to inhibition of the proteasome-dependent degradation pathway. To explore the pathway upstream of this event, we measured the levels of SCF complex molecules, including Skp1, Skp2, Cul1, Roc1 and Cks1. The levels of Skp2 and its cofactor Cks1 decreased in the KIF14 knockdown cells where p27(Kip1) accumulated. Overexpression of Skp2 in the KIF14 knockdown cells attenuated the failure of cytokinesis. On the basis of these results, we postulate that KIF14 knockdown downregulates the expression of Skp2 and Cks1, which target p27(Kip1) for degradation by the 26S proteasome, leading to accumulation of p27(Kip1). The downregulation of Skp2 and Cks1 also resulted in cytokinesis failure, which may inhibit tumor growth. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that has identified the molecular target and oncogenic effect of KIF14 in HCC.

Parry M, Rose-Zerilli MJ, Gibson J, et al.
Whole exome sequencing identifies novel recurrently mutated genes in patients with splenic marginal zone lymphoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e83244 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The pathogenesis of splenic marginal zone lymphoma (SMZL) remains largely unknown. Recent high-throughput sequencing studies have identified recurrent mutations in key pathways, most notably NOTCH2 mutations in >25% of patients. These studies are based on small, heterogeneous discovery cohorts, and therefore only captured a fraction of the lesions present in the SMZL genome. To identify further novel pathogenic mutations within related biochemical pathways, we applied whole exome sequencing (WES) and copy number (CN) analysis to a biologically and clinically homogeneous cohort of seven SMZL patients with 7q abnormalities and IGHV1-2*04 gene usage. We identified 173 somatic non-silent variants, affecting 160 distinct genes. In additional to providing independent validation of the presence of mutation in several previously reported genes (NOTCH2, TNFAIP3, MAP3K14, MLL2 and SPEN), our study defined eight additional recurrently mutated genes in SMZL; these genes are CREBBP, CBFA2T3, AMOTL1, FAT4, FBXO11, PLA2G4D, TRRAP and USH2A. By integrating our WES and CN data we identified three mutated putative candidate genes targeted by 7q deletions (CUL1, EZH2 and FLNC), with FLNC positioned within the well-characterized 7q minimally deleted region. Taken together, this work expands the reported directory of recurrently mutated cancer genes in this disease, thereby expanding our understanding of SMZL pathogenesis. Ultimately, this work will help to establish a stratified approach to care including the possibility of targeted therapy.

Stoll G, Surdez D, Tirode F, et al.
Systems biology of Ewing sarcoma: a network model of EWS-FLI1 effect on proliferation and apoptosis.
Nucleic Acids Res. 2013; 41(19):8853-71 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Ewing sarcoma is the second most frequent pediatric bone tumor. In most of the patients, a chromosomal translocation leads to the expression of the EWS-FLI1 chimeric transcription factor that is the major oncogene in this pathology. Relative genetic simplicity of Ewing sarcoma makes it particularly attractive for studying cancer in a systemic manner. Silencing EWS-FLI1 induces cell cycle alteration and ultimately leads to apoptosis, but the exact molecular mechanisms underlying this phenotype are unclear. In this study, a network linking EWS-FLI1 to cell cycle and apoptosis phenotypes was constructed through an original method of network reconstruction. Transcriptome time-series after EWS-FLI1 silencing were used to identify core modulated genes by an original scoring method based on fitting expression profile dynamics curves. Literature data mining was then used to connect these modulated genes into a network. The validity of a subpart of this network was assessed by siRNA/RT-QPCR experiments on four additional Ewing cell lines and confirmed most of the links. Based on the network and the transcriptome data, CUL1 was identified as a new potential target of EWS-FLI1. Altogether, using an original methodology of data integration, we provide the first version of EWS-FLI1 network model of cell cycle and apoptosis regulation.

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