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The Carcinogen Cadmium Activates Lysine 63 (K63)-Linked Ubiquitin-Dependent Signaling and Inhibits Selective Autophagy

Abstract : Signaling, proliferation, and inflammation are dependent on K63-linked ubiquitination—conjugation of a chain of ubiquitin molecules linked via lysine 63. However, very little information is currently available about how K63-linked ubiquitination is subverted in cancer. The present study provides, for the first time, evidence that cadmium (Cd), a widespread environmental carcinogen, is a potent activator of K63-linked ubiquitination, independently of oxidative damage, activation of ubiquitin ligase, or proteasome impairment. We show that Cd induces the formation of protein aggregates that sequester and inactivate cylindromatosis (CYLD) and selective autophagy, two tumor suppressors that deubiquitinate and degrade K63-ubiquitinated proteins, respectively. The aggregates are constituted of substrates of selective autophagy—SQSTM1, K63-ubiquitinated proteins, and mitochondria. These protein aggregates also cluster double-membrane remnants, which suggests an impairment in autophagosome maturation. However, failure to eliminate these selective cargos is not due to alterations in the general autophagy process, as degradation of long-lived proteins occurs normally. We propose that the simultaneous disruption of CYLD and selective autophagy by Cd feeds a vicious cycle that further amplifies K63-linked ubiquitination and downstream activation of the NF-κB pathway, processes that support cancer progression. These novel findings link together impairment of selective autophagy, K63-linked ubiquitination, and carcinogenesis.
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Submitted on : Monday, March 21, 2022 - 12:12:44 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, August 4, 2022 - 4:58:41 PM


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Abderrahman Chargui, Amine Belaid, Papa Diogop Ndiaye, Véronique Imbert, Michel Samson, et al.. The Carcinogen Cadmium Activates Lysine 63 (K63)-Linked Ubiquitin-Dependent Signaling and Inhibits Selective Autophagy. Cancers, MDPI, 2021, 13 (10), pp.2490. ⟨10.3390/cancers13102490⟩. ⟨cea-03615094⟩



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