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Proteasomal degradation of the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein is regulated by a single lysine residue


Gierisch, Maria E; Pfistner, Franziska; Lopez-Garcia, Laura A; Harder, Lena; Schäfer, Beat W; Niggli, Felix K (2016). Proteasomal degradation of the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein is regulated by a single lysine residue. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 291(52):26922-26933.

Abstract

E-26 transformation-specific (ETS) proteins are transcription factors directing gene expression through their conserved DNA binding domain. They are implicated as truncated forms or interchromosomal rearrangements in a variety of tumors including Ewing sarcoma, a pediatric tumor of the bone. Tumor cells express the chimeric oncoprotein EWS-FLI1 from a specific t(22;11)(q24;12) translocation. EWS-FLI1 harbors a strong transactivation domain from EWSR1 and the DNA-binding ETS domain of FLI1 in the C-terminal part of the protein. Although Ewing cells are crucially dependent on continuous expression of EWS-FLI1, its regulation of turnover has not been characterized in detail. Here, we identify the EWS-FLI1 protein as a substrate of the ubiquitin-proteasome system with a characteristic polyubiquitination pattern. Using a global protein stability approach, we determined the half-life of EWS-FLI1 to lie between 2 and 4 h, whereas full-length EWSR1 and FLI1 were more stable. By mass spectrometry, we identified two ubiquitin acceptor lysine residues of which only mutation of Lys-380 in the ETS domain of the FLI1 part abolished EWS-FLI1 ubiquitination and stabilized the protein posttranslationally. Expression of this highly stable mutant protein in Ewing cells while simultaneously depleting the endogenous wild type protein differentially modulates two subgroups of target genes to be either EWS-FLI1 protein-dependent or turnover-dependent. The majority of target genes are in an unaltered state and cannot be further activated. Our study provides novel insights into EWS-FLI1 turnover, a critical pathway in Ewing sarcoma pathogenesis, and lays new ground to develop novel therapeutic strategies in Ewing sarcoma.

Abstract

E-26 transformation-specific (ETS) proteins are transcription factors directing gene expression through their conserved DNA binding domain. They are implicated as truncated forms or interchromosomal rearrangements in a variety of tumors including Ewing sarcoma, a pediatric tumor of the bone. Tumor cells express the chimeric oncoprotein EWS-FLI1 from a specific t(22;11)(q24;12) translocation. EWS-FLI1 harbors a strong transactivation domain from EWSR1 and the DNA-binding ETS domain of FLI1 in the C-terminal part of the protein. Although Ewing cells are crucially dependent on continuous expression of EWS-FLI1, its regulation of turnover has not been characterized in detail. Here, we identify the EWS-FLI1 protein as a substrate of the ubiquitin-proteasome system with a characteristic polyubiquitination pattern. Using a global protein stability approach, we determined the half-life of EWS-FLI1 to lie between 2 and 4 h, whereas full-length EWSR1 and FLI1 were more stable. By mass spectrometry, we identified two ubiquitin acceptor lysine residues of which only mutation of Lys-380 in the ETS domain of the FLI1 part abolished EWS-FLI1 ubiquitination and stabilized the protein posttranslationally. Expression of this highly stable mutant protein in Ewing cells while simultaneously depleting the endogenous wild type protein differentially modulates two subgroups of target genes to be either EWS-FLI1 protein-dependent or turnover-dependent. The majority of target genes are in an unaltered state and cannot be further activated. Our study provides novel insights into EWS-FLI1 turnover, a critical pathway in Ewing sarcoma pathogenesis, and lays new ground to develop novel therapeutic strategies in Ewing sarcoma.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Children's Hospital Zurich > Medical Clinic
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:23 December 2016
Deposited On:16 Jan 2017 15:47
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 11:36
Publisher:American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
ISSN:0021-9258
OA Status:Green
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1074/jbc.M116.752063
PubMed ID:27875302

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