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J Biol Chem. 2011 Oct 14;286(41):35380-7. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.282020. Epub 2011 Aug 17.

The USP19 deubiquitinase regulates the stability of c-IAP1 and c-IAP2.

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Department of Cancer Biology and Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.


The inhibitors of apoptosis (IAPs) are critical regulators of apoptosis and other fundamental cellular processes. Many IAPs are RING domain-containing ubiquitin E3 ligases that control the stability of their interacting proteins. However, how IAP stability is regulated remains unclear. Here we report that USP19, a deubiquitinating enzyme, interacts with cellular IAP 1 (c-IAP1) and c-IAP2. Knockdown of USP19 decreases levels of both c-IAPs, whereas overexpression of USP19 results in a marked increase in c-IAP levels. USP19 effectively removes ubiquitin from c-IAPs in vitro, but it stabilizes c-IAPs in vivo mainly through deubiquitinase-independent mechanisms. The deubiquitinase activity is involved in the stabilization of USP19 itself, which is facilitated by USP19 self-association. Functionally, knockdown of USP19 enhances TNFα-induced caspase activation and apoptosis in a c-IAP1 and 2-dependent manner. These results suggest that the self-ubiquitin ligase activity of c-IAPs is inhibited by USP19 and implicate deubiquitinating enzymes in the regulation of IAP stability.

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