UBTD1 is a mechano-regulator controlling cancer aggressiveness

Torrino S, Roustan FR, Kaminski L, Bertero T, Pisano S, Ambrosetti D, Dufies M, Uhler JP, Lemichez E, Mettouchi A, Gesson M, Laurent K, Gaggioli C, Michiels JF, Lamaze C, Bost F, Clavel S

EMBO Rep. 2019 Feb;


PMID: 30804013

Ubiquitin domain-containing protein 1 (UBTD1) is highly evolutionary conserved and has been described to interact with E2 enzymes of the ubiquitin-proteasome system. However, its biological role and the functional significance of this interaction remain largely unknown. Here, we demonstrate that depletion of UBTD1 drastically affects the mechanical properties of epithelial cancer cells via RhoA activation and strongly promotes their aggressiveness. On a stiff matrix, UBTD1 expression is regulated by cell-cell contacts, and the protein is associated with β-catenin at cell junctions. Yes-associated protein (YAP) is a major cell mechano-transducer, and we show that UBTD1 is associated with components of the YAP degradation complex. Interestingly, UBTD1 promotes the interaction of YAP with its E3 ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP Consequently, in cancer cells, UBTD1 depletion decreases YAP ubiquitylation and triggers robust ROCK2-dependent YAP activation and downstream signaling. Data from lung and prostate cancer patients further corroborate the results, confirming that low levels of UBTD1 are associated with poor patient survival, suggesting that biological functions of UBTD1 could be beneficial in limiting cancer progression.