Suppression of tumor angiogenesis by targeting the protein neddylation pathway

W. T. Yao, J. F. Wu, G. Y. Yu, R. Wang, K. Wang, L. H. Li, P. Chen, Y. N. Jiang, H. Cheng, H. W. Lee, J. Yu, H. Qi, X. J. Yu, P. Wang, Y. W. Chu, M. Yang, Z. C. Hua, H. Q. Ying, R. M. Hoffman, L. S. JeongL. J. Jia

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71 Scopus citations


Inhibition of protein neddylation, particularly cullin neddylation, has emerged as a promising anticancer strategy, as evidenced by the antitumor activity in preclinical studies of the Nedd8-activating enzyme (NAE) inhibitor MLN4924. This small molecule can block the protein neddylation pathway and is now in clinical trials. We and others have previously shown that the antitumor activity of MLN4924 is mediated by its ability to induce apoptosis, autophagy and senescence in a cell context-dependent manner. However, whether MLN4924 has any effect on tumor angiogenesis remains unexplored. Here we report that MLN4924 inhibits angiogenesis in various in vitro and in vivo models, leading to the suppression of tumor growth and metastasis in highly malignant pancreatic cancer, indicating that blockage of angiogenesis is yet another mechanism contributing to its antitumor activity. At the molecular level, MLN4924 inhibits CullinRING E3 ligases (CRLs) by cullin deneddylation, causing accumulation of RhoA at an early stage to impair angiogenic activity of vascular endothelial cells and subsequently DNA damage response, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis due to accumulation of other tumor-suppressive substrates of CRLs. Furthermore, we showed that inactivation of CRLs, via small interfering RNA (siRNA) silencing of its essential subunit ROC1/RBX1, recapitulates the antiangiogenic effect of MLN4924. Taken together, our study demonstrates a previously unrecognized role of neddylation in the regulation of tumor angiogenesis using both pharmaceutical and genetic approaches, and provides proof of concept evidence for future development of neddylation inhibitors (such as MLN4924) as a novel class of antiangiogenic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1059
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. We thank Dr Yi Sun (University of Michigan) and Dr Avnish Kapoor (University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center) for their critical reading of our manuscript. This work was supported by National Basic Research Program of China (973 program, 2012CB910302), National Natural Science Foundation Grant of China (grant numbers 31071204, 81172092 and 81372196), the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning and Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program (12PJ1400600) to Lijun Jia.


  • MLN4924
  • cullinRING ligase
  • neddylation
  • tumor angiogenesis


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