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Nat Cell Biol. 2013 Dec;15(12):1486-1494. doi: 10.1038/ncb2874. Epub 2013 Nov 24.

Deubiquitylation and stabilization of PTEN by USP13.

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Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Laboratory of Cell Death & Cell Survival, Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD), Nampally, Hyderabad 500001, India.
Cancer Biology Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.
Center for Molecular Medicine and Graduate Institute of Cancer Biology, China Medical University, Taichung 402, Taiwan.
Contributed equally


The tumour suppressor PTEN is frequently lost in human cancers. In addition to gene mutations and deletions, recent studies have revealed the importance of post-translational modifications, such as ubiquitylation, in the regulation of PTEN stability, activity and localization. However, the deubiquitylase that regulates PTEN polyubiquitylation and protein stability remains unknown. Here we screened a total of 30 deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) and identified five DUBs that physically associate with PTEN. One of them, USP13, stabilizes the PTEN protein through direct binding and deubiquitylation of PTEN. Loss of USP13 in breast cancer cells promotes AKT phosphorylation, cell proliferation, anchorage-independent growth, glycolysis and tumour growth through downregulation of PTEN. Conversely, overexpression of USP13 suppresses tumorigenesis and glycolysis in PTEN-positive but not PTEN-null breast cancer cells. Importantly, USP13 protein is downregulated in human breast tumours and correlates with PTEN protein levels. These findings identify USP13 as a tumour-suppressing protein that functions through deubiquitylation and stabilization of PTEN.

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