Ubiquitin-specific peptidase 5 facilitates cancer stem cell-like properties in lung cancer by deubiquitinating β-catenin

Chia Hao Tung, Jia En Wu, Meng Fan Huang, Wen Lung Wang, Yi Ying Wu, Yao Tsung Tsai, Xiu Rui Hsu, Sheng Hsiang Lin, Yuh Ling Chen, Tse Ming Hong

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Abstract

Background: Lung cancer has the highest mortality rate in the world, and mounting evidence suggests that cancer stem cells (CSCs) are associated with poor prognosis, recurrence, and metastasis of lung cancer. It is urgent to identify new biomarkers and therapeutic targets for targeting lung CSCs. Methods: We computed the single-sample gene set enrichment analysis (ssGSEA) of 1554 Reactome gene sets to identify the mRNA expression-based stemness index (mRNAsi)-associated pathways using the genome-wide RNA sequencing data of 509 patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) cohort of lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD). Phenotypic effects of ubiquitin-specific peptidase 5 (USP5) on the CSC-like properties and metastasis were examined by in vitro sphere formation assay, migration assay, invasion assay, and in vivo xenografted animal models. Cycloheximide chase assay, co-immunoprecipitation assay, and deubiquitination assay were performed to confirm the effect of USP5 on the deubiquitination of β-catenin. Results: We demonstrated that USP5 expression were positively correlated with the stemness-associated signatures and poor outcomes in lung cancer specimens. Silencing of endogenous USP5 reduced CSC-like characteristics, epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and metastasis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, USP5 interacted with β-catenin, which resulted in deubiquitination, stabilization of β-catenin, and activation of Wnt/β-catenin pathway. Accordingly, expression of USP5 was positively correlated with the enrichment score of the Wnt/TCF pathway signature in human lung cancer. Silencing of β-catenin expression suppressed USP5-enhancing sphere formation. Targeting USP5 with the small molecule WP1130 promoted the degradation of β-catenin, and showed great inhibitory effects on sphere formation, migration, and invasion. Finally, we identified a poor-prognosis subset of tumors characterized by high levels of USP5, Wnt signaling score, and Stemness score in both TCGA-LUAD and Rousseaux_2013 datasets. Conclusions: These findings reveal a clinical evidence for USP5-enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling in promoting lung cancer stemness and metastasis, implying that targeting USP5 could provide beneficial effects to improve lung cancer therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number207
JournalCancer Cell International
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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