Inhibition of the deubiquitinase USP9x induces pre-B cell homeobox 1 (PBX1) degradation and thereby stimulates prostate cancer cell apoptosis [Protein Synthesis and Degradation] (Journal of Biological Chemistry)
Chemoresistance is a leading obstacle in effective management of advanced prostate cancer (PCa). A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in PCa chemoresistance could improve treatment of patients with PCa. In the present study, using immune histochemical, chemistry, and precipitation assays with cells from individuals with benign or malignant prostate cancer or established PCa cell lines, we found that the oncogenic transcription factor pre-B cell leukemia homeobox-1 (PBX1) promotes PCa cell proliferation and confers to resistance against common anti-cancer drugs such as doxorubicin and cisplatin. We observed that genetic PBX1 knockdown abrogates this resistance, and further experiments revealed that PBX1 stability was modulated by the ubiquitin-proteasomal pathway. To directly probe the impact of this pathway on PBX1 activity, we screened for PBX1-specific deubiquitinases (Dubs) and found that ubiquitin-specific peptidase 9 X-linked (USP9x) interacted with and stabilized the PBX1 protein by attenuating its Lys-48-linked polyubiquitination. Moreover, the USP9x inhibitor WP1130 markedly induced PBX1 degradation and promoted PCa cell apoptosis. The results in this study indicate that PBX1 confers to PCa chemoresistance and identify USP9x as a Dub of PBX1. We concluded that targeting the USP9x/PBX1 axis could be a potential therapeutic strategy for managing advanced prostate cancer.