The SPOP gene, which encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase adaptor, is frequently mutated in a number of cancer types. However, the mechanisms by which SPOP functions as a tumor suppressor remain poorly understood. Here, we show that SPOP promotes senescence, an important tumor suppression mechanism, by targeting the SENP7 deSUMOylase for degradation. SPOP is upregulated during senescence. This correlates with ubiquitin-mediated degradation of SENP7, which promotes senescence by increasing HP1α sumoylation and the associated epigenetic gene silencing. Ectopic wild-type SPOP, but not its cancer-associated mutants, drives senescence. Conversely, SPOP knockdown overcomes senescence. These phenotypes correlate with ubiquitination and degradation of SENP7 and HP1α sumoylation, subcellular re-localization, and its associated gene silencing. Furthermore, SENP7 is expressed at higher levels in prostate tumor specimens with SPOP mutation (n = 13) compared to those with wild-type SPOP (n = 80). In summary, SPOP acts as a tumor suppressor by promoting senescence through degrading SENP7. The SPOP gene, which encodes an E3 ubiquitin ligase adaptor, is mutated in a number of cancer types. Zhu et al. show that SPOP promotes senescence, a tumor suppression mechanism, by degrading the SENP7 deSUMOylase. This correlates with HP1α-associated epigenetic gene silencing through a relay of ubiquitination and sumoylation post-transcriptional modifications.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)