UBC12-mediated SREBP-1 neddylation worsens metastatic tumor prognosis

Mi Jeong Heo, Sung Hyun Kang, Yun Seok Kim, Jung Min Lee, Jinha Yu, Hong Rae Kim, Hyesol Lim, Kyoung Mee Kim, Joohee Jung, Lak Shin Jeong, Aree Moon, Sang Geon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Activation of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1), a master lipogenic transcription factor, is associated with cancer metabolism and metabolic disorders. Neddylation, the process of adding NEDD8 to its substrate, contributes to diverse biological processes. Here, we identified SREBP-1 as a substrate for neddylation by UBC12 and explored its impact on tumor aggressiveness. In cell-based assays, SREBP-1 neddylation prolonged SREBP-1 stability with a decrease in ubiquitination. Consequently, NEDD8 overexpression facilitated proliferation, migration, and invasion of SK-Hep1 liver tumor cells. MLN4924 (an inhibitor of the NEDD8-activating enzyme-E1) treatment or UBC12 knockdown prevented SREBP-1 neddylation and tumor cell phenotype change. This effect was corroborated in an in vivo xenograft model. In human specimens, SREBP-1, UBC12, and NEDD8 were all upregulated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) compared to nontumorous regions. Moreover, SREBP-1 levels positively correlated with UBC12. In GEO database analyses, SREBP-1 levels were greater in metastatic HCC samples accompanying UBC12 upregulation. In HCC analysis, tumoral SREBP-1 and UBC12 levels discriminated overall patient survival rates. Additionally, MLN4924 treatment destabilized SREBP-1 in MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells and in the tumor cell xenograft. SREBP-1 and UBC12 were also highly expressed in human breast cancer tissues. Moreover, most breast cancers with lymph node metastasis displayed predominant SREBP-1 and UBC12 expressions, which compromised overall patient survival rates. In summary, SREBP-1 is neddylated by UBC12, which may contribute to HCC and breast cancer aggressiveness through SREBP-1 stabilization, and these events can be intervented by MLN4924 therapy. Our findings may also provide potential reliable prognostic markers for tumor metastasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2550-2563
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
National Research Foundation of Korea, Grant/Award Number: 2015M3A9B6074045; Priority Research Centers Program, Grant/Award Number: 2016R1A6A1A03007648 Funding information

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program of the NRF funded by the Korean government, MSIP (2015M3A9B6074045). Our study was also supported by the Priority Research Centers Program (2016R1A6A1A03007648) to A. M.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 UICC


  • HCC
  • SREBP-1
  • UBC12
  • breast cancer
  • neddylation


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