Research Papers:

Otub1 stabilizes MDMX and promotes its proapoptotic function at the mitochondria

Yingxiao Chen, Yue-Gang Wang, Yuhuang Li, Xiao-Xin Sun and Mu-Shui Dai _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:11053-11062. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14278

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Yingxiao Chen1, Yue-Gang Wang1, Yuhuang Li1, Xiao-Xin Sun1, Mu-Shui Dai1

1Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, and The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Correspondence to:

Mu-Shui Dai, email: [email protected]

Keywords: deubiquitinating enzymes, MDMX, Otub1, p53, apoptosis

Received: November 04, 2016     Accepted: December 20, 2016     Published: December 27, 2016


Otub1 regulates p53 stability and activity via non-canonical inhibition of UbcH5, the MDM2 cognate ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2). However, whether Otub1 regulates MDMX stability and activity is not clear. Here we report that Otub1 also suppresses MDM2-mediated MDMX ubiquitination in cells and in vitro, independently of its deubiquitinating enzyme activity. Consequently, overexpression of Otub1 markedly stabilized MDMX and increased its levels, whereas knockdown of Otub1 reduced the levels of MDMX. Interestingly, MDMX induced by Otub1 can localize to mitochondria in addition to the cytosol, enhance p53 phosphorylation at S46 (p53S46P) and promote mitochondria-mediated apoptotic pathway. Knockdown of MDMX reduced Otub1-induced p53S46P, which was shown to be critical for p53’s mitochondrial function and apoptotic activity. Furthermore, Otub1 promotes UV-irradiation-induced p53S46P and apoptosis, which can be significantly inhibited by MDMX depletion. Together, these results suggest that Otub1 stabilizes MDMX and promotes p53S46P and mitochondria-mediated apoptosis, providing an alternative mechanism of Otub1’s role in apoptosis.

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