RNF168 suppresses the cancer stem cell-like traits of nonsmall cell lung cancer cells by mediating RhoC ubiquitination

This article was originally published here

Environ Toxicol. 2021 Dec 7. doi: 10.1002/tox.23428. Online ahead of print.


The critical roles of E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF168 have been widely revealed in various tumors, however, its roles in lung cancer progression are still confusing. Here, we found that RNF168 expression is positively correlated with the overall survival, first-progression survival, and postprogression survival of lung adenocarcinoma, but not correlated with these survivals of squamous cell carcinoma of lung. Furthermore, it was shown that RNF168 mRNA expression is lowly expressed in lung adenocarcinoma tissues, but highly expressed in squamous cell carcinoma of lung. Functional experiments indicated that RNF168 overexpression significantly suppressed the cancer stem cell (CSC)-like traits of nonsmall cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells, as characterized by the attenuation of sphere-formation ability, ALDH activity, and the expression of lung CSC markers. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that RNF168 facilitated the ubiquitination of RhoC, which had been considered as a fascinating target for CSCs, and thus promoted RhoC protein degradation. Notably, RNF168 failed to affect the mRNA expression of RhoC and overexpression of RhoC rescued the inhibitory effects of RNF168 overexpression on the CSC-like traits of NSCLC cells. Therefore, this study revealed RNF168 as a novel regulator of RhoC protein in NSCLC cells, this RNF168/RhoC regulatory axis might be a potential target for NSCLC treatment.

PMID:34873829 | DOI:10.1002/tox.23428