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Loss of HAUSP-mediated deubiquitination contributes to DNA damage-induced destabilization of Hdmx and Hdm2

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  • Biology


The p53 tumor suppressor protein has a major role in protecting the integrity of the genome. In unstressed cells, p53 is maintained at low levels by the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. A balance between ubiquitin ligase activity (Hdm2, COP1, and Pirh2) and the ubiquitin protease activity of the Herpes virus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease (HAUSP) determines the half-life of p53. HAUSP also modulates p53 stability indirectly by deubiquitination and stabilization of Hdm2. The Hdmx protein affects p53 stability as well through its interaction with and regulation of Hdm2. Vice versa, Hdmx is a target for Hdm2-mediated ubiquitination and degradation. Here, we show that HAUSP also interacts with Hdmx, resulting in its direct deubiquitination and stabilization. HAUSP activity is required to maintain normal Hdmx protein levels. Therefore, the balance between HAUSP and Hdm2 activity determines Hdmx protein stability. Importantly, impaired deubiquitination of Hdmx/Hdm2 by HAUSP contributes to the DNA damage-induced degradation of Hdmx and transient instability of Hdm2.

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