DDB2 regulates DNA replication through PCNA-independent degradation of CDT2

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Background: Targeting ubiquitin-dependent proteolysis is one of the strategies in cancer therapy. CRLCDT2 and CRLDDB2 are two key E3 ubiquitin ligases involved in DNA replication and DNA damage repair. But CDT2 and DDB2 are opposite prognostic factors in kinds of cancers, and the underlining mechanism needs to be elucidated. Methods: Small interfering RNAs were used to determine the function of target genes. Co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) was performed to detect the interaction between DDB2 and CDT2. Immunofluorescence assays and fluorescence activating cell sorting (FACS) were used to measure the change of DNA content. In vivo ubiquitination assay was carried out to clarify the ubiquitination of CDT2 mediated by DDB2. Cell synchronization was performed to arrest cells at G1/S and S phase. The mechanism involved in DDB2-mediated CDT2 degradation was investigated by constructing plasmids with mutant variants and measured by Western blot. Immunohistochemistry was performed to determine the relationship between DDB2 and CDT2. Paired two-side Student’s t-test was used to measure the significance of the difference between control group and experimental group. Results: Knockdown of DDB2 stabilized CDT2, while over-expression of DDB2 enhanced ubiquitination of CDT2, and subsequentially degradation of CDT2. Although both DDB2 and CDT2 contain PIP (PCNA-interacting protein) box, PIP box is dispensable for DDB2-mediated CDT2 degradation. Knockdown of PCNA had negligible effects on the stability of CDT2, but promoted accumulation of CDT1, p21 and SET8. Silencing of DDB2 arrested cell cycle in G1 phase, destabilized CDT1 and reduced the chromatin loading of MCMs, thereby blocked the formation of polyploidy induced by ablation of CDT2. In breast cancer and ovarian teratoma tissues, high level of DDB2 was along with lower level of CDT2. Conclusions: We found that CRL4DDB2 is the novel E3 ubiquitin ligases of CDT2, and DDB2 regulates DNA replication through indirectly regulates CDT1 protein stability by degrading CDT2 and promotes the assembly of pre-replication complex. Our results broaden the horizon for understanding the opposite function of CDT2 and DDB2 in tumorigenesis, and may provide clues for drug discovery in cancer therapy.




Wu, X., Yu, M., Zhang, Z., Leng, F., Ma, Y., Xie, N., & Lu, F. (2021). DDB2 regulates DNA replication through PCNA-independent degradation of CDT2. Cell and Bioscience, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13578-021-00540-5

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