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