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FEBS Lett. 2012 Jun 4;586(11):1592-601. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 Apr 13.

The enigmatic role of H2Bub1 in cancer.

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  • 1Department of Tumor Biology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, 20246 Hamburg, Germany. sjohnsen@alumni.mayo.edu

Abstract

The post-translational modification of histone proteins plays an important role in controlling cell fate by directing essentially all DNA-associated nuclear processes. Misregulation and mutation of histone modifying enzymes is a hallmark of tumorigenesis. However, how these different epigenetic modifications lead to tumor initiation and/or progression remains poorly understood. Recent studies have uncovered a potential tumor suppressor role for histone H2B monoubiquitination (H2Bub1). Like many other histone modifications, H2Bub1 has diverse functions and plays roles both in transcriptional activation and repression as well as in controlling mRNA processing and directing DNA repair processes. Notably, H2Bub1 has been linked to transcriptional elongation and is preferentially found in the transcribed region of active genes. Its activity is intimately connected to active transcription and the transcriptional elongation regulatory protein cyclin-dependent kinase-9 (CDK9) and the facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) complex. This review provides an overview of the current understanding of H2Bub1 function in mammalian systems with a particular emphasis on its role in cancer and potential options for exploiting this knowledge for the treatment of cancer.

Copyright © 2012 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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