Gene Summary

Gene:USP7; ubiquitin specific peptidase 7
Aliases: TEF1, HAUSP
Summary:The protein encoded by this gene belongs to the peptidase C19 family, which includes ubiquitinyl hydrolases. This protein deubiquitinates target proteins such as p53 (a tumor suppressor protein) and WASH (essential for endosomal protein recycling), and regulates their activities by counteracting the opposing ubiquitin ligase activity of proteins such as HDM2 and TRIM27, involved in the respective process. Mutations in this gene have been implicated in a neurodevelopmental disorder. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2016]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase 7
Source:NCBIAccessed: 11 March, 2017


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (24)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 11 March 2017 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.

  • Transfection
  • Cervical Cancer
  • Chromosome 16
  • Lung Cancer
  • MDM2
  • Breast Cancer
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Ubiquitination
  • Mutation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Ubiquitin
  • Gene Expression
  • Young Adult
  • Apoptosis
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Up-Regulation
  • Protein Transport
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Protein Binding
  • DNA Damage
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Cell Line
  • Viral Proteins
  • Endopeptidases
  • Messenger RNA
  • p53 Protein
  • Down-Regulation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Xenograft Models
  • Disease Progression
  • Signal Transduction
  • Western Blotting
Tag cloud generated 11 March, 2017 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: USP7 (cancer-related)

Srihari S, Singla J, Wong L, Ragan MA
Inferring synthetic lethal interactions from mutual exclusivity of genetic events in cancer.
Biol Direct. 2015; 10:57 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Synthetic lethality (SL) refers to the genetic interaction between two or more genes where only their co-alteration (e.g. by mutations, amplifications or deletions) results in cell death. In recent years, SL has emerged as an attractive therapeutic strategy against cancer: by targeting the SL partners of altered genes in cancer cells, these cells can be selectively killed while sparing the normal cells. Consequently, a number of studies have attempted prediction of SL interactions in human, a majority by extrapolating SL interactions inferred through large-scale screens in model organisms. However, these predicted SL interactions either do not hold in human cells or do not include genes that are (frequently) altered in human cancers, and are therefore not attractive in the context of cancer therapy.
RESULTS: Here, we develop a computational approach to infer SL interactions directly from frequently altered genes in human cancers. It is based on the observation that pairs of genes that are altered in a (significantly) mutually exclusive manner in cancers are likely to constitute lethal combinations. Using genomic copy-number and gene-expression data from four cancers, breast, prostate, ovarian and uterine (total 3980 samples) from The Cancer Genome Atlas, we identify 718 genes that are frequently amplified or upregulated, and are likely to be synthetic lethal with six key DNA-damage response (DDR) genes in these cancers. By comparing with published data on gene essentiality (~16000 genes) from ten DDR-deficient cancer cell lines, we show that our identified genes are enriched among the top quartile of essential genes in these cell lines, implying that our inferred genes are highly likely to be (synthetic) lethal upon knockdown in these cell lines. Among the inferred targets are tousled-like kinase 2 (TLK2) and the deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin-specific-processing protease 7 (USP7) whose overexpression correlates with poor survival in cancers.
CONCLUSION: Mutual exclusivity between frequently occurring genetic events identifies synthetic lethal combinations in cancers. These identified genes are essential in cell lines, and are potential candidates for targeted cancer therapy. Availability:

Chen ST, Okada M, Nakato R, et al.
The Deubiquitinating Enzyme USP7 Regulates Androgen Receptor Activity by Modulating Its Binding to Chromatin.
J Biol Chem. 2015; 290(35):21713-23 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The androgen receptor (AR), a nuclear receptor superfamily transcription factor, plays a key role in prostate cancer. AR signaling is the principal target for prostate cancer treatment, but current androgen-deprivation therapies cannot completely abolish AR signaling because of the heterogeneity of prostate cancers. Therefore, unraveling the mechanism of AR reactivation in androgen-depleted conditions can identify effective prostate cancer therapeutic targets. Increasing evidence indicates that AR activity is mediated by the interplay of modifying/demodifying enzymatic co-regulators. To better understand the mechanism of AR transcriptional activity regulation, we used antibodies against AR for affinity purification and identified the deubiquitinating enzyme ubiquitin-specific protease 7, USP7 as a novel AR co-regulator in prostate cancer cells. We showed that USP7 associates with AR in an androgen-dependent manner and mediates AR deubiquitination. Sequential ChIP assays indicated that USP7 forms a complex with AR on androgen-responsive elements of target genes upon stimulation with the androgen 5α-dihydrotestosterone. Further investigation indicated that USP7 is necessary to facilitate androgen-activated AR binding to chromatin. Transcriptome profile analysis of USP7-knockdown LNCaP cells also revealed the essential role of USP7 in the expression of a subset of androgen-responsive genes. Hence, inhibition of USP7 represents a compelling therapeutic strategy for the treatment of prostate cancer.

Zhu L, Liu R, Zhang W, et al.
MicroRNA-205 regulates ubiquitin specific peptidase 7 protein expression in hepatocellular carcinoma cells.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(3):4652-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Ubiquitin specific peptidase 7 (UPS7) has a critical role in the development and progression of cancer, at least in part, through its regulation of p53 protein stability. However, its molecular determinants remain to be elucidated. In the present study, it was identified that microRNA‑205 (miR‑205) may negatively regulate UPS7 protein levels through targeting its 3'‑untranslated region in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells. As a result, miR‑205 mimics inhibited USP7 protein levels while antisense miR‑205 enhanced USP7 protein levels, thereby modulating the p53 signaling pathway and cell proliferation levels. In conclusion, the data presents a novel molecule for the dysregulated expression of USP7 in HCC, which may assist in elucidating mechanisms underlying the tumorigenesis of HCC.

McClurg UL, Robson CN
Deubiquitinating enzymes as oncotargets.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(12):9657-68 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Carcinogenesis is a complex process tightly regulated at multiple levels by post-translational modifications. Epigenetics plays a major role in cancer development, all stable changes to the gene expression process that are not a result of a direct change in the DNA code are described as epigenetics. Epigenetic processes are regulated by post-translational modifications including ubiquitination which can directly affect either histones or transcription factors or may target their co-factors and interacting partners exerting an indirect effect. Deubiquitination of these target proteins is equally important and alterations in this pathway can also lead to cancer development, progression and metastasis. Only the correct, unaltered balance between ubiquitination and deubiquitination ensures healthy cellular homeostasis. In this review we focus on the role of deubiquitinating (DUB) enzymes in various aspects of epigenetics including the regulation of transcription factors, histone modifications, DNA damage repair pathways and cell cycle regulation. We discuss the impact of those processes on tumourigenesis and potential therapeutic applications of DUBs for cancer treatment.

García-Ruiz JC, Olazábal I, Adán Pedroso RM, et al.
Disseminated fusariosis and hematologic malignancies, a still devastating association. Report of three new cases.
Rev Iberoam Micol. 2015 Jul-Sep; 32(3):190-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Fungi of the genus Fusarium are primarily plant pathogens and saprobes that produce disseminated infections in immunologically deficient humans. After aspergillosis, disseminated fusariosis is the second most common cause of invasive infection by filamentous fungi in patients with hematologic malignancies or those undergoing transplants of hematopoietic progenitors.
AIMS: Disseminated fusariosis (DF) is considered an extremely rare infection and has reached a stable incidence rate, but its high mortality rate and the lack of an optimal management protocol have raised increasing interest in this mycosis.
METHODS: We present three cases of DF produced by Fusarium oxysporum species complex, Fusarium solani species complex and the highly unusual Fusarium dimerum in patients with advanced hematological malignancies diagnosed in our hospital between 2007 and 2011. The species level identification of the Fusarium isolates was established by sequencing their TEF1 gene.
RESULTS: The isolates showed low susceptibility to most of the antifungal agents analyzed, except that observed for F. dimerum to amphotericin B (AmB) and terbinafine, and F. oxysporum species complex to AmB. Interestingly, the strain of F. solani species complex exhibited high MIC values for AmB and voriconazole, notwithstanding these drugs were used for treatment with good results. Other relevant aspects to be considered in the treatment of DF are surgically cleaning foci of infection, withdrawing presumably contaminated catheters and recovery from neutropenia.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevention of infection in colonized patients, the maintenance of a high level of diagnostic suspicion for early diagnosis, and the combined, vigorous and prolonged use of L-AmB and voriconazole are essential to decrease the mortality rate of this devastating infection.

Morra F, Luise C, Merolla F, et al.
FBXW7 and USP7 regulate CCDC6 turnover during the cell cycle and affect cancer drugs susceptibility in NSCLC.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(14):12697-709 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
CCDC6 gene product is a pro-apoptotic protein substrate of ATM, whose loss or inactivation enhances tumour progression. In primary tumours, the impaired function of CCDC6 protein has been ascribed to CCDC6 rearrangements and to somatic mutations in several neoplasia. Recently, low levels of CCDC6 protein, in NSCLC, have been correlated with tumor prognosis. However, the mechanisms responsible for the variable levels of CCDC6 in primary tumors have not been described yet.We show that CCDC6 turnover is regulated in a cell cycle dependent manner. CCDC6 undergoes a cyclic variation in the phosphorylated status and in protein levels that peak at G2 and decrease in mitosis. The reduced stability of CCDC6 in the M phase is dependent on mitotic kinases and on degron motifs that are present in CCDC6 and direct the recruitment of CCDC6 to the FBXW7 E3 Ubl. The de-ubiquitinase enzyme USP7 appears responsible of the fine tuning of the CCDC6 stability, affecting cells behaviour and drug response.Thus, we propose that the amount of CCDC6 protein in primary tumors, as reported in lung, may depend on the impairment of the CCDC6 turnover due to altered protein-protein interaction and post-translational modifications and may be critical in optimizing personalized therapy.

Collaud S, Tischler V, Atanassoff A, et al.
Lung neuroendocrine tumors: correlation of ubiquitinylation and sumoylation with nucleo-cytosolic partitioning of PTEN.
BMC Cancer. 2015; 15:74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a pleiotropic enzyme, inhibiting phosphatidyl-inositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling in the cytosol and stabilizing the genome in the nucleus. Nucleo-cytosolic partitioning is dependent on the post-translational modifications ubiquitinylation and sumoylation. This cellular compartmentalization of PTEN was investigated in lung neuroendocrine tumors (lung NET).
METHODS: Tumor tissues from 192 lung NET patients (surgical specimens = 183, autopsies = 9) were investigated on tissue microarrays. PTEN was H-scored by two investigators in nucleus and cytosol using the monoclonal antibody 6H2.1. Results were correlated with immunoreactivity for USP7 (herpes virus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease 7) and SUMO2/3 (small ubiquitin-related modifier protein 2/3) as well as PTEN and p53 FISH gene status. Clinico-pathologic data including overall survival, proliferation rate and diagnostic markers (synaptophysin, chromogranin A, Mib-1, TTF-1) were recorded.
RESULTS: The multicentre cohort included 58 typical carcinoids (TC), 42 atypical carcinoids (AC), 32 large cell neuroendocrine carcinomas (LCNEC) and 60 small cell lung carcinomas (SCLC). Carcinoids were smaller in size and had higher synaptophysin and chromogranin A, but lower TTF-1 expressions. Patients with carcinoids were predominantly female and 10 years younger than patients with LCNEC/SCLC. In comparison to the carcinoids, LCNEC/SCLC tumors presented a stronger loss of nuclear and cytosolic PTEN associated with a loss of PTEN and p53. Concomitantly, a loss of nuclear USP7 but increase of nuclear and cytosolic SUMO2/3 was found. Loss of nuclear and cytosolic PTEN, loss of nuclear USP7 and increase of cytosolic SUMO2/3 thus correlated with poor survival. Among carcinoids, loss of cytosolic PTEN was predominantly found in TTF1-negative larger tumors of male patients. Among SCLC, loss of both cytosolic and nuclear PTEN but not proliferation rate or tumor size delineated a subgroup with poorer survival (all p-values <0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: Cellular ubiquitinylation and sumoylation likely influence the functional PTEN loss in high grade lung NET. Both nuclear and cytosolic PTEN immunoreactivity should be considered for correlation with clinico-pathologic parameters.

Hu HJ, Zhang LG, Wang ZH, Guo XX
FoxO6 inhibits cell proliferation in lung carcinoma through up-regulation of USP7.
Mol Med Rep. 2015; 12(1):575-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Emerging evidence has suggested that misregulation of oncogenes and/or tumor suppressors has a crucial role in the development of lung carcinoma. The present study demonstrated that the expression levels of forkhead box O6 (FOXO6) were downregulated in lung cancer tissue samples, as compared with those in adjacent normal tissue. Overexpression of FOXO6 inhibited the proliferation of A549 human lung cancer cells, whereas knockdown of endogenous FOXO6 expression enhanced cell proliferation. Furthermore, ectopic FOXO6 expression induced the expression of ubiquitin-specific-processing protease 7 (USP7). As a result of this regulation, FOXO6 overexpression led to an elevation of p53 protein expression levels in A549 cells. In conclusion, the results of the present study indicated that the FOXO6/USP7 molecular network has an important role in the regulation of lung cancer development.

Zhao GY, Lin ZW, Lu CL, et al.
USP7 overexpression predicts a poor prognosis in lung squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2015; 36(3):1721-9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), both USP7 expression and p53 gene status were reported to be an indicator of poor prognosis in adenocarcinoma patients; however, its roles and mechanisms in lung squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma need to be clarified. The USP7 expression was examined in NSCLC tumors (excluding adenocarcinoma), their corresponding non-tumorous tissues, and NSCLC cells. Then, the prognostic role of USP7 was analyzed in 110 NSCLC samples (excluding the adenocarcinoma). Finally, the roles and mechanisms of USP7 in the proliferation, metastasis, and invasion of a NSCLC cell were assessed using a specific vshRNA. The USP7 expression was higher in NSCLC tissues compared to non-tumorous samples, accordingly, the high level of USP7 was detected in NSCLC cell lines compared with HBE cell. After the USP7 downregulation, the H460 cells exhibited decreased metastasis/invasion in vitro and in vivo. The preliminary mechanism study indicated overexpression of USP7 might regulate the p53-MDM2 pathway by inducing the MDM2 de-ubiquitination and subsequent stabilization, which resulted in the upregulation of the Bad phosphorylation. Additionally, we also found that USP7 might induce cell epithelial-mesenchymal transition to enhance the cell invasive ability. Clinically, USP7 overexpression significantly correlated with malignant phenotype. Furthermore, the 5-year overall survival in patients with USP7(low) was higher than that of USP7(high). Multivariate analysis showed USP7 overexpression was an independent prognostic marker for these cancers. USP7 overexpression may regulate the survival and invasive properties of squamous cell carcinoma and large cell carcinoma cells, and may serve as a molecular target.

Wu GC, Zhang ZT
Genetic association of single nucleotide polymorphisms in P53 pathway with gastric cancer risk in a Chinese Han population.
Med Oncol. 2015; 32(1):401 [PubMed] Related Publications
The tumor suppressor gene P53 plays an important role in carcinogenesis, and the P53 pathway is central both in reducing cancer frequency and in mediating the response of cancer therapies. MDM2, MDM4 and Hausp genes are all critical regulators of the tumor suppressor P53. Many studies have evaluated the association of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in P53 pathway with the risk of common cancers. However, the results are still inconclusive. In this work, we analyzed the association of SNPs in P53 (rs1042522), MDM2 (rs2279744), MDM4 (rs1380576) and Hausp (rs1529916) genes with gastric cancer in a hospital-based Chinese Han population (642 cases and 720 cancer-free controls). We found that the polymorphisms of P53 (rs1042522) and MDM2 (rs2279744) are associated with gastric cancer risk, whereas no significant association was observed between variant genotype of other two polymorphisms (MDM4 rs1380576 and Hausp rs1529916) and gastric cancer risk.

Qian J, Pentz K, Zhu Q, et al.
USP7 modulates UV-induced PCNA monoubiquitination by regulating DNA polymerase eta stability.
Oncogene. 2015; 34(36):4791-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA polymerase eta (Polη) has unique and pivotal functions in several DNA damage-tolerance pathways. Steady-state level of this short-lived protein is tightly controlled by multiple mechanisms including proteolysis. Here, we have identified the deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB), ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7), as a novel regulator of Polη stability. USP7 regulates Polη stability through both indirect and direct mechanisms. Knockout of USP7 increased the steady-state level of Polη and slowed down the turnover of both Polη and p53 proteins through destabilizing their E3 ligase murine double minute 2 (Mdm2). Also, USP7 physically binds Polη in vitro and in vivo. Overexpression of wild-type USP7 but not its catalytically-defective mutants deubiquitinates Polη and increases its cellular steady-state level. Thus, USP7 directly serves as a specific DUB for Polη. Furthermore, ectopic expression of USP7 promoted the UV-induced proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) monoubiquitination in Polη-proficient but not in Polη-deficient XPV (Xeroderma pigmentosum variant) cells, suggesting that USP7 facilitates UV-induced PCNA monoubiquitination by stabilizing Polη. Taken together, our findings reveal a modulatory role of USP7 in PCNA ubiquitination-mediated stress-tolerance pathways by fine-tuning Polη turnover.

Varol N, Konac E, Bilen CY
Does Wnt/β-catenin pathway contribute to the stability of DNMT1 expression in urological cancer cell lines?
Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2015; 240(5):624-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA methylation is considered as one of the most important epigenetic mechanisms and it is catalyzed by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). DNMT1 abundance has been frequently seen in urogenital system tumors but the reasons for this abundance are not well understood. We aimed to look into the effects of Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway on overexpression of DNMT1 and aberrant expression of UHRF1 and HAUSP which are responsible for stability of DNMT1 at transcriptional and protein levels in urogenital cancers. In this context, firstly, Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway was activated by using SB216763 which is a glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3) β inhibitor. Cell proliferation levels in bladder cancer cells, renal cell carcinoma, and prostate cancer cells treated with GSK3β inhibitor (SB216763) were detected by WST-1 reagent. WIF-1 gene methylation profile was determined by methylation-specific PCR (MSP); expression levels of target genes β-catenin and WIF-1 by real-time PCR; and protein levels of β-catenin, DNMT1, pGSK3β(Ser9), HAUSP, and UHRF1 by Western Blot. Our results indicated that treatment with SB216763 caused an increased cell proliferation at low dose. mRNA levels of β-catenin increased after treatment with SB216273 and protein levels of pGSK3β(Ser9), β-catenin, and DNMT1 increased in comparison to control. HAUSP and UHRF1 were either up-regulated or down-regulated at the same doses depending on the type of cancer. Also, we showed that protein levels of DNMT1, β-catenin, HAUSP, and UHRF1 decreased after re-expression of WIF-1 following treatment with DAC. In Caki-2 cells, β-catenin pathway might have accounted for the stability of DNMT1 expression, whereas such relation is not valid for T24 and PC3 cells. Our findings may offer a new approach for determination of molecular effects of Wnt/β-catenin signal pathway on DNMT1. This may allow us to identify new molecular targets for the treatment of urogenital cancers.

Zhang J, Cao M, Dong J, et al.
ABRO1 suppresses tumourigenesis and regulates the DNA damage response by stabilizing p53.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:5059 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Abraxas brother 1 (ABRO1) has been reported to be a component of the BRISC complex, a multiprotein complex that specifically cleaves 'Lys-63'-linked ubiquitin. However, current knowledge of the functions of ABRO1 is limited. Here we report that ABRO1 is frequently downregulated in human liver, kidney, breast and thyroid gland tumour tissues. Depletion of ABRO1 in cancer cells reduces p53 levels and enhances clone formation and cellular transformation. Conversely, overexpression of ABRO1 suppresses cell proliferation and tumour formation in a p53-dependent manner. We further show that ABRO1 stabilizes p53 by facilitating the interaction of p53 with USP7. DNA-damage induced accumulation of endogenous ABRO1 as well as translocation of ABRO1 to the nucleus, and the induction of p53 by DNA damage is almost completely attenuated by ABRO1 depletion. Our study shows that ABRO1 is a novel p53 regulator that plays an important role in tumour suppression and the DNA damage response.

Thompson JW, Nagel J, Hoving S, et al.
Quantitative Lys-ϵ-Gly-Gly (diGly) proteomics coupled with inducible RNAi reveals ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis of DNA damage-inducible transcript 4 (DDIT4) by the E3 ligase HUWE1.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(42):28942-55 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Targeted degradation of proteins through the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) via the activities of E3 ubiquitin ligases regulates diverse cellular processes, and misregulation of these enzymes contributes to the pathogenesis of human diseases. One of the challenges facing the UPS field is to delineate the complete cohort of substrates for a particular E3 ligase. Advances in mass spectrometry and the development of antibodies recognizing the Lys-ϵ-Gly-Gly (diGly) remnant from ubiquitinated proteins following trypsinolysis have provided a tool to address this question. We implemented an inducible loss of function approach in combination with quantitative diGly proteomics to find novel substrates of HUWE1 (HECT, UBA, and WWE domain containing 1, E3 ubiquitin protein ligase), an E3 ligase implicated in cancer and intellectual disabilities. diGly proteomics results led to the identification of DNA damage-inducible transcript 4 (DDIT4) as a putative HUWE1 substrate. Cell-based assays demonstrated that HUWE1 interacts with and regulates ubiquitination and stability of DDIT4. Together these data suggest a model in which HUWE1 mediates DDIT4 proteasomal degradation. Our results demonstrate proof of concept that inducible knockdown of an E3 ligase in combination with diGly proteomics provides a potentially advantageous method for identifying novel E3 substrates that may help to identify candidates for therapeutic modulation in the UPS.

Zhang P, Wei Y, Wang L, et al.
ATM-mediated stabilization of ZEB1 promotes DNA damage response and radioresistance through CHK1.
Nat Cell Biol. 2014; 16(9):864-75 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is associated with characteristics of breast cancer stem cells, including chemoresistance and radioresistance. However, it is unclear whether EMT itself or specific EMT regulators play causal roles in these properties. Here we identify an EMT-inducing transcription factor, zinc finger E-box binding homeobox 1 (ZEB1), as a regulator of radiosensitivity and DNA damage response. Radioresistant subpopulations of breast cancer cells derived from ionizing radiation exhibit hyperactivation of the kinase ATM and upregulation of ZEB1, and the latter promotes tumour cell radioresistance in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, ATM phosphorylates and stabilizes ZEB1 in response to DNA damage, ZEB1 in turn directly interacts with USP7 and enhances its ability to deubiquitylate and stabilize CHK1, thereby promoting homologous recombination-dependent DNA repair and resistance to radiation. These findings identify ZEB1 as an ATM substrate linking ATM to CHK1 and the mechanism underlying the association between EMT and radioresistance.

Morotti A, Panuzzo C, Crivellaro S, et al.
HAUSP compartmentalization in chronic myeloid leukemia.
Eur J Haematol. 2015; 94(4):318-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: PTEN plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of chronic myeloid leukemia. Recently, we have shown that BCR-ABL promotes PTEN nuclear exclusion, through the modulation of HAUSP activity.
OBJECTIVES: Here, we investigate HAUSP cellular compartmentalization in primary CML samples.
RESULTS: While in normal CD34 positive cells HAUSP is expressed mostly in the nucleus, in CML CD34 cells HAUSP is expressed both in the nuclear bodies and in the cytoplasm.
CONCLUSIONS: This observation suggests that HAUSP behaves as a shuttling protein in CML. It can bind to BCR-ABL in the cytosol, where it is phosphorylated on tyrosine residues, and it maintains the proper compartmentalization in the nuclear bodies, where it acts as part of a PML network to regulate PTEN de-ubiquitination.

Giovinazzi S, Sirleto P, Aksenova V, et al.
Usp7 protects genomic stability by regulating Bub3.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(11):3728-42 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
USP7 (Ubiquitin Specific processing Protease-7) is a deubiquitinase which, over the past decade emerged as a critical regulator of cellular processes. Deregulation of USP7 activity has been linked to cancer, making USP7 inhibition an appealing anti-cancer strategy. The identification of novel USP7 substrates and additional USP7-dependent cellular activities will broaden our knowledge towards potential clinical application of USP7 inhibitors. Results presented in this study uncover a novel and pivotal function of USP7 in the maintenance of genomic stability. Upon USP7 depletion we observed prolonged mitosis and mitotic abnormalities including micronuclei accumulation, lagging chromosomes and karyotype instability. Inhibition of USP7 with small molecule inhibitors stabilizes cyclin B and causes mitotic abnormalities. Our results suggest that these USP7-dependent effects are mediated by decreased levels of spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) component Bub3, which we characterized as an interacting partner and substrate of USP7. In silico analysis across the NCI-60 panels of cell lines supports our results where lower levels of USP7 strongly correlate with genomic instability. In conclusion, we identified a novel role of USP7 as regulator of the SAC component Bub3 and genomic stability.

Zhu Y, Liu C, Cui Y, et al.
Interleukin-6 induces neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) through suppression of RE-1 silencing transcription factor (REST).
Prostate. 2014; 74(11):1086-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Paracrine interleukin-6 (IL-6) can mediate neuroendocrine (NE) features, including the acquisition of a neurite-like phenotype and growth arrest in prostate cancer cells. However, little is known about the mechanisms underlying neuroendocrine differentiation induced by IL-6.
METHODS: Immunoblotting was performed to determine the status of RE1-silencing transcription factor (REST) and of neuroendocrine markers such as Neuron-specific Enolase (NSE), chromogranin A and synaptophysin in LNCaP cells treated with IL-6. To further study the impact of REST-mediated repression on neuroendocrine differentiation (NED) in LNCaP cells, either wild-type REST or a dominant-positive form of REST, REST-VP16, in which both repressor domains of REST were replaced with the activation domain of the herpes simplex virus protein VP16, was introduced into LNCaP cells.
RESULTS: In this study, we show that REST is suppressed in IL-6-induced neuroendocrine differentiation in LNCaP cells. Overexpression of exogenous REST abrogated IL-6-induced NED in prostate cancer cells. Expression of the recombinant REST-VP16 fusion protein activated REST target genes and other neuronal differentiation genes and produced neuronal physiological properties. In addition, REST protein turnover was accelerated in IL-6 induced NE differentiated LNCaP cells via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, accompanied by a decrease in the expression of the deubiquitylase HAUSP, indicating that pathway(s) priming REST degradation may be involved in IL-6 induced NE differentiation.
CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that REST functions as a major switch of IL-6 induced neuroendocrine differentiation in LNCaP cells.

Rivlin N, Katz S, Doody M, et al.
Rescue of embryonic stem cells from cellular transformation by proteomic stabilization of mutant p53 and conversion into WT conformation.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014; 111(19):7006-11 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
p53 is a well-known tumor suppressor that is mutated in over 50% of human cancers. These mutations were shown to exhibit gain of oncogenic function compared with the deletion of the gene. Additionally, p53 has fundamental roles in differentiation and development; nevertheless, mutant p53 mice are viable and develop malignant tumors only on adulthood. We set out to reveal the mechanisms by which embryos are protected from mutant p53-induced transformation using ES cells (ESCs) that express a conformational mutant of p53. We found that, despite harboring mutant p53, the ESCs remain pluripotent and benign and have relatively normal karyotype compared with ESCs knocked out for p53. Additionally, using high-content RNA sequencing, we show that p53 is transcriptionally active in response to DNA damage in mutant ESCs and elevates p53 target genes, such as p21 and btg2. We also show that the conformation of mutant p53 protein in ESCs is stabilized to a WT conformation. Through MS-based interactome analyses, we identified a network of proteins, including the CCT complex, USP7, Aurora kinase, Nedd4, and Trim24, that bind mutant p53 and may shift its conformation to a WT form. We propose this conformational shift as a novel mechanism of maintenance of genomic integrity, despite p53 mutation. Harnessing the ability of these protein interactors to transform the oncogenic mutant p53 to the tumor suppressor WT form can be the basis for future development of p53-targeted cancer therapy.

Huether R, Dong L, Chen X, et al.
The landscape of somatic mutations in epigenetic regulators across 1,000 paediatric cancer genomes.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:3630 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Studies of paediatric cancers have shown a high frequency of mutation across epigenetic regulators. Here we sequence 633 genes, encoding the majority of known epigenetic regulatory proteins, in over 1,000 paediatric tumours to define the landscape of somatic mutations in epigenetic regulators in paediatric cancer. Our results demonstrate a marked variation in the frequency of gene mutations across 21 different paediatric cancer subtypes, with the highest frequency of mutations detected in high-grade gliomas, T-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and medulloblastoma, and a paucity of mutations in low-grade glioma and retinoblastoma. The most frequently mutated genes are H3F3A, PHF6, ATRX, KDM6A, SMARCA4, ASXL2, CREBBP, EZH2, MLL2, USP7, ASXL1, NSD2, SETD2, SMC1A and ZMYM3. We identify novel loss-of-function mutations in the ubiquitin-specific processing protease 7 (USP7) in paediatric leukaemia, which result in decreased deubiquitination activity. Collectively, our results help to define the landscape of mutations in epigenetic regulatory genes in paediatric cancer and yield a valuable new database for investigating the role of epigenetic dysregulations in cancer.

Fan YH, Cheng J, Vasudevan SA, et al.
USP7 inhibitor P22077 inhibits neuroblastoma growth via inducing p53-mediated apoptosis.
Cell Death Dis. 2013; 4:e867 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Neuroblastoma (NB) is a common pediatric cancer and contributes to more than 15% of all pediatric cancer-related deaths. Unlike adult tumors, recurrent somatic mutations in NB, such as tumor protein 53 (p53) mutations, occur with relative paucity. In addition, p53 downstream function is intact in NB cells with wild-type p53, suggesting that reactivation of p53 may be a viable therapeutic strategy for NB treatment. Herein, we report that the ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) inhibitor, P22077, potently induces apoptosis in NB cells with an intact USP7-HDM2-p53 axis but not in NB cells with mutant p53 or without human homolog of MDM2 (HDM2) expression. In this study, we found that P22077 stabilized p53 by inducing HDM2 protein degradation in NB cells. P22077 also significantly augmented the cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin (Dox) and etoposide (VP-16) in NB cells with an intact USP7-HDM2-p53 axis. Moreover, P22077 was found to be able to sensitize chemoresistant LA-N-6 NB cells to chemotherapy. In an in vivo orthotopic NB mouse model, P22077 significantly inhibited the xenograft growth of three NB cell lines. Database analysis of NB patients shows that high expression of USP7 significantly predicts poor outcomes. Together, our data strongly suggest that targeting USP7 is a novel concept in the treatment of NB. USP7-specific inhibitors like P22077 may serve not only as a stand-alone therapy but also as an effective adjunct to current chemotherapeutic regimens for treating NB with an intact USP7-HDM2-p53 axis.

Frau M, Feo F, Pascale RM
Pleiotropic effects of methionine adenosyltransferases deregulation as determinants of liver cancer progression and prognosis.
J Hepatol. 2013; 59(4):830-41 [PubMed] Related Publications
Downregulation of liver-specific MAT1A gene, encoding S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) synthesizing isozymes MATI/III, and upregulation of widely expressed MAT2A, encoding MATII isozyme, known as MAT1A:MAT2A switch, occurs in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Being inhibited by its reaction product, MATII isoform upregulation cannot compensate for MATI/III decrease. Therefore, MAT1A:MAT2A switch contributes to decrease in SAM level in rodent and human hepatocarcinogenesis. SAM administration to carcinogen-treated rats prevents hepatocarcinogenesis, whereas MAT1A-KO mice, characterized by chronic SAM deficiency, exhibit macrovesicular steatosis, mononuclear cell infiltration in periportal areas, and HCC development. This review focuses upon the pleiotropic changes, induced by MAT1A/MAT2A switch, associated with HCC development. Epigenetic control of MATs expression occurs at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. In HCC cells, MAT1A/MAT2A switch is associated with global DNA hypomethylation, decrease in DNA repair, genomic instability, and signaling deregulation including c-MYC overexpression, rise in polyamine synthesis, upregulation of RAS/ERK, IKK/NF-kB, PI3K/AKT, and LKB1/AMPK axis. Furthermore, decrease in MAT1A expression and SAM levels results in increased HCC cell proliferation, cell survival, and microvascularization. All of these changes are reversed by SAM treatment in vivo or forced MAT1A overexpression or MAT2A inhibition in cultured HCC cells. In human HCC, MAT1A:MAT2A and MATI/III:MATII ratios correlate negatively with cell proliferation and genomic instability, and positively with apoptosis and global DNA methylation. This suggests that SAM decrease and MATs deregulation represent potential therapeutic targets for HCC. Finally, MATI/III:MATII ratio strongly predicts patients' survival length suggesting that MAT1A:MAT2A expression ratio is a putative prognostic marker for human HCC.

Ching W, Koyuncu E, Singh S, et al.
A ubiquitin-specific protease possesses a decisive role for adenovirus replication and oncogene-mediated transformation.
PLoS Pathog. 2013; 9(3):e1003273 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Adenoviral replication depends on viral as well as cellular proteins. However, little is known about cellular proteins promoting adenoviral replication. In our screens to identify such proteins, we discovered a cellular component of the ubiquitin proteasome pathway interacting with the central regulator of adenoviral replication. Our binding assays mapped a specific interaction between the N-terminal domains of both viral E1B-55K and USP7, a deubiquitinating enzyme. RNA interference-mediated downregulation of USP7 severely reduced E1B-55K protein levels, but more importantly negatively affected adenoviral replication. We also succeeded in resynthesizing an inhibitor of USP7, which like the knockdown background reduced adenoviral replication. Further assays revealed that not only adenoviral growth, but also adenoviral oncogene-driven cellular transformation relies on the functions of USP7. Our data provide insights into an intricate mechanistic pathway usurped by an adenovirus to promote its replication and oncogenic functions, and at the same time open up possibilities for new antiviral strategies.

Weng L, Ziliak D, Im HK, et al.
Genome-wide discovery of genetic variants affecting tamoxifen sensitivity and their clinical and functional validation.
Ann Oncol. 2013; 24(7):1867-73 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Beyond estrogen receptor (ER), there are no validated predictors for tamoxifen (TAM) efficacy and toxicity. We utilized a genome-wide cell-based model to comprehensively evaluate genetic variants for their contribution to cellular sensitivity to TAM.
DESIGN: Our discovery model incorporates multidimensional datasets, including genome-wide genotype, gene expression, and endoxifen-induced cellular growth inhibition in the International HapMap lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). Genome-wide findings were further evaluated in NCI60 cancer cell lines. Gene knock-down experiments were performed in four breast cancer cell lines. Genetic variants identified in the cell-based model were examined in 245 Caucasian breast cancer patients who underwent TAM treatment.
RESULTS: We identified seven novel single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with endoxifen sensitivity through the expression of 10 genes using the genome-wide integrative analysis. All 10 genes identified in LCLs were associated with TAM sensitivity in NCI60 cancer cell lines, including USP7. USP7 knock-down resulted in increasing resistance to TAM in four breast cancer cell lines tested, which is consistent with the finding in LCLs and in the NCI60 cells. Furthermore, we identified SNPs that were associated with TAM-induced toxicities in breast cancer patients, after adjusting for other clinical factors.
CONCLUSION: Our work demonstrates the utility of a cell-based model in genome-wide identification of pharmacogenomic markers.

Cheng C, Niu C, Yang Y, et al.
Expression of HAUSP in gliomas correlates with disease progression and survival of patients.
Oncol Rep. 2013; 29(5):1730-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The human herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease (HAUSP) deubiquitinating enzyme has been shown to regulate many proteins involved in the cell cycle, as well as tumor suppressors and oncogenes. However, the expression pattern of HAUSP in glioma patients is still unclear. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the expression pattern and prognostic significance of HAUSP in patients with glioma. Eighty glioma specimens and 10 normal control samples were obtained. Immunohistochemical assay, quantitative real-time PCR and western blot analysis were carried out to explore the expression of HAUSP. Additionally, the association of HAUSP expression with clinicopathological parameters and the survival of glioma patients were analyzed. Our results showed that HAUSP expression levels were increased from grade I to grade IV in the tumors of the glioma patients. Moreover, the survival rate of patients with HAUSP-positive tumors was lower when compared to that of patients with HAUSP-negative tumors. We further confirmed that high expression of HAUSP was a significant and independent prognostic indicator in glioma by multivariate analysis. Our data provide convincing evidence for the first time that the overexpression of HAUSP at the gene and protein levels is correlated with poor outcome in patients with glioma in China. HAUSP may play an important oncogenic role in glioma progression, and it is a potential diagnostic and therapeutic target.

Yi P, Xia W, Wu RC, et al.
SRC-3 coactivator regulates cell resistance to cytotoxic stress via TRAF4-mediated p53 destabilization.
Genes Dev. 2013; 27(3):274-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3) is an oncogenic nuclear receptor coactivator that plays a significant role in drug resistance. Using a lentiviral cDNA library rescue screening approach, we identified a SRC-3 downstream gene-TRAF4 (tumor necrosis factor [TNF] receptor associated-factor 4)-that functions in cell resistance to cytotoxic stress. TRAF4 expression is positively correlated with SRC-3 expression in human breast cancers. Similar to that observed for SRC-3 overexpression, breast cancer cells overexpressing TRAF4 are more resistant to stress-induced death. Here, we further dissected the underlying molecular mechanism for SRC-3 and TRAF4-mediated resistance to cytotoxic agents. We observed that SRC-3 expression is inversely correlated with the expression of p53-regulated proapoptotic genes in breast cancers and further found that SRC-3 and TRAF4 overexpression diminished cytotoxic stress-induced up-regulation of the tumor suppressor p53 protein. To determine the mechanism, we showed that the TRAF domain of TRAF4 bound to the N-terminal TRAF-like region of the deubiquitinase HAUSP (herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease; also named USP7) and blocked the access of p53 to the same region of HAUSP. This TRAF4-mediated inhibition of HAUSP then led to the loss of p53 deubiquitination and its stabilization in response to cellular stress. Consistent with this cellular function, we also found that TRAF4 overexpression in breast cancer patients was associated significantly with poor prognosis. Because of SRC-3's ability to abrogate p53 function, our results suggest that SRC-3 overexpression may be especially important in tumors in which p53 is not mutated.

Li X, Wang Y, Li XW, et al.
No association between the USP7 gene polymorphisms and colorectal cancer in the Chinese Han population.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2012; 13(5):1749-52 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC), now the third most common cancer across the world, is known to aggregate in families. USP7 is a very important protein with an important role in regulating the p53 pathway, which is critical for genomic stability and tumor suppression. We here genotyped eight SNPs within the USP7 gene and conducted a case-control study in 312 CRC patients and 270 healthy subjects in the Chinese Han population. No significant associations were found for any single SNP and CRC risk. Our data eliminate USP7 as a potential candidate gene towards for CRC in the Han Chinese population.

Yang Z, Huo S, Shan Y, et al.
STAT3 repressed USP7 expression is crucial for colon cancer development.
FEBS Lett. 2012; 586(19):3013-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) induced STAT3 activation is viewed as crucial for multiple tumor growth and metastasis, including colon cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms remain largely unexplored. Here, we show that expression of ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7), a deubiquitylating enzyme, is decreased in STAT3-positive tumors. IL-6 administration or transfection of a constitutively activated STAT3 in SW480 cells also repressed USP mRNA expression. Using luciferase reporter and ChIP assay, we found that STAT3 bound to the promoter region of USP7 and inhibited its activity through recruiting HDAC1. As a result of the decline of USP7 expression, endogenous P53 protein level was decreased. Thus, our results suggest a previously unknown STAT3-USP7-P53 molecular network controlling colon cancer development.

Sarkari F, Wang X, Nguyen T, Frappier L
The herpesvirus associated ubiquitin specific protease, USP7, is a negative regulator of PML proteins and PML nuclear bodies.
PLoS One. 2011; 6(1):e16598 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The PML tumor suppressor is the founding component of the multiprotein nuclear structures known as PML nuclear bodies (PML-NBs), which control several cellular functions including apoptosis and antiviral effects. The ubiquitin specific protease USP7 (also called HAUSP) is known to associate with PML-NBs and to be a tight binding partner of two herpesvirus proteins that disrupt PML NBs. Here we investigated whether USP7 itself regulates PML-NBs. Silencing of USP7 was found to increase the number of PML-NBs, to increase the levels of PML protein and to inhibit PML polyubiquitylation in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells. This effect of USP7 was independent of p53 as PML loss was observed in p53-null cells. PML-NBs disruption was induced by USP7 overexpression independently of its catalytic activity and was induced by either of the protein interaction domains of USP7, each of which localized to PML-NBs. USP7 also disrupted NBs formed from some single PML isoforms, most notably isoforms I and IV. CK2α and RNF4, which are known regulators of PML, were dispensable for USP7-associated PML-NB disruption. The results are consistent with a novel model of PML regulation where a deubiquitylase disrupts PML-NBs through recruitment of another cellular protein(s) to PML NBs, independently of its catalytic activity.

Epping MT, Meijer LA, Krijgsman O, et al.
TSPYL5 suppresses p53 levels and function by physical interaction with USP7.
Nat Cell Biol. 2011; 13(1):102-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have previously reported a gene expression signature that is a powerful predictor of poor clinical outcome in breast cancer. Among the seventy genes in this expression profile is a gene of unknown function: TSPYL5 (TSPY-like 5, also known as KIAA1750). TSPYL5 is located within a small region at chromosome 8q22 that is frequently amplified in breast cancer, which suggests that TSPYL5 has a causal role in breast oncogenesis. Here, we report that high TSPYL5 expression is an independent marker of poor outcome in breast cancer. Mass spectrometric analysis revealed that TSPYL5 interacts with ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7; also known as herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease; HAUSP). USP7 is the deubiquitylase for the p53 tumour suppressor and TSPYL5 reduces the activity of USP7 towards p53, resulting in increased p53 ubiquitylation. We demonstrate that TSPYL5 reduces p53 protein levels and inhibits activation of p53-target genes. Furthermore, expression of TSPYL5 overrides p53-dependent proliferation arrest and oncogene-induced senescence, and contributes to oncogenic transformation in multiple cell-based assays. Our data identify TSPYL5 as a suppressor of p53 function through its interaction with USP7.

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