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J Mol Biol. 2009 Aug 28;391(4):691-702. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.06.066. Epub 2009 Jul 1.

The COP9 signalosome mediates beta-catenin degradation by deneddylation and blocks adenomatous polyposis coli destruction via USP15.

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Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Thoracic Surgery, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany.


The Wnt/beta-catenin signalling pathway has important roles in normal cellular proliferation, development and angiogenesis. Many malignant transformations, including sporadic colorectal tumours, are caused by constitutive activation of the Wnt route due to mutations in the tumour suppressor protein adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) or the beta-catenin oncogene, ultimately resulting in reduced beta-catenin degradation by the ubiquitin (Ub) proteasome system (UPS). The COP9 signalosome (CSN) regulates the UPS by controlling cullin-RING Ub ligases (CRLs). We show here that the CSN and the beta-catenin destruction complex cooperate in targeting beta-catenin for degradation by the UPS. Together with the CRL that ubiquitinates beta-catenin, they form a supercomplex responsible for beta-catenin degradation. Wnt3A, glycogen synthase kinase 3beta inhibitors or mutation of CSN-mediated deneddylation induce the disassembly of the supercomplex and the accumulation of beta-catenin. Likewise, downregulation of the CSN in HeLa cells leads to retarded degradation of beta-catenin. Additionally, we found that the knockdown of the CSN causes accelerated proteolysis of APC, an essential component of the beta-catenin destruction complex, which is degraded by the UPS as beta-catenin. We show here that APC is stabilised by the Ub-specific protease 15 (USP15) associated with the CSN. This is demonstrated by over-expression of siRNA oligonucleotides against USP15 or by over-expression of an USP15 mutant, which is unable to degrade poly-Ub chains. Thus, the CSN controls the Wnt/beta-catenin signalling by assisting the assembly of beta-catenin-degrading supercomplexes by deneddylation and, simultaneously, by stabilising APC via CSN-associated USP15. The CSN regulates the balance between beta-catenin and APC. Disturbance of this balance can cause cancer by driving cell transformation, tumour angiogenesis and metastasis. A model is provided that proposes a role of CSN-mediated deneddylation in the formation of the beta-catenin-degrading supercomplex and the protection of complex-bound APC via CSN-associated USP15.

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