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Oncotarget. 2015 Jun 30;6(18):16287-303.

Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 increases cancer cell invasion by modulating hydrogen peroxide generated via NADPH oxidase 4.

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Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Ewha Womans University, Seoul, Korea.
Conway Institute, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland.


This study explored the role of ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH-L1) in the production of ROS and tumor invasion. UCH-L1 was found to increase cellular ROS levels and promote cell invasion. Silencing UCH-L1, as well as inhibition of H2O2 generation by catalase or by DPI, a NOX inhibitor, suppressed the migration potential of B16F10 cells, indicating that UCH-L1 promotes cell migration by up-regulating H2O2 generation. Silencing NOX4, which generates H2O2, with siRNA eliminated the effect of UCH-L1 on cell migration. On the other hand, NOX4 overexpressed in HeLa cells happens to be ubiquitinated, and NOX4 following deubiquitination by UCH-L1, restored H2O2-generating activity. These in vitro findings are consistent with the results obtained in vivo with catalase (-/-) C57BL/6J mice. When H2O2 and UCH-L1 levels were independently varied in these animals, the former by infecting with H2O2-scavenging adenovirus-catalase, and the latter by overexpressing or silencing UCH-L1, pulmonary metastasis of B16F10 cells overexpressing UCH-L1 increased significantly in catalase (-/-) mice. In contrast, invasion did not increase when UCH-L1 was silenced in the B16F10 cells. These findings indicate that H2O2 levels regulated by UCH-L1 are necessary for cell invasion to occur and demonstrate that UCH-L1 promotes cell invasion by up-regulating H2O2 via deubiquitination of NOX4.


NOX4; UCH-L1; hydrogen peroxide; invasion; ubiquitination

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