Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.523, No.2, 307-314, 2020
THG-1 suppresses SALL4 degradation to induce sternness genes and tumorsphere formation through antagonizing NRBP1 in squamous cell carcinoma cells
Knockdown of THG-1 in TE13 esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) cells is known to suppress tumorsphere growth. THG-1 was identified as an NRBP1 binding protein, and NRBP1 was reported to downregulate an stemness-related transcriptional factor SALL4, so we decided to examine the possibility that tumorigenic function of THG-1 is achieved by the competition to the tumor-suppressive function of NRBP1. SALL4 was decreased in THG-1 deficient TE13 cells with reduced tumorsphere formation, while exogenous SALL4 expression in THG-1 deficient TE13 cells recovered expression of stemness genes (NANOG and OCT4) and partially, but significantly, recovered tumorsphere formation ability. Additionally, we found that NRBP1 induced ubiquitination of SALL4, and THG-1 interrupted the ubiquitination of SALL4 by antagonizing NRBP1 binding to SALL4. These results suggest that THG-1 promotes tumorsphere growth of ESCC cells by the stabilization of SALL4 protein and induction of the target stemness genes through competitive binding to NRBP1. (C) 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc.