Tripartite motif 31 promotes resistance to anoikis of hepatocarcinoma cells through regulation of p53-AMPK axis

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Abstract

Anoikis-resistance is an essential feature of cancer cells to obtain successful metastasis, whereas the molecular mechanism involved in this process of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells is not fully understood. Here we demonstrated that tripartite motif-containing (TRIM) 31, a new member of the TRIM family, was significantly upregulated in the anchorage-deprived HCC cells compared with their attached counterpart. When we blocked TRIM31 expression by its specific interference RNAs, the anoikis-resistance of HCC cells was significantly reversed. We further verified that overactivation of AMPK pathway was responsible for TRIM31-mediated resistance to anoikis of HCC cells; and TRIM31 could directly target p53, the upstream suppressor of AMPK pathway, and mediate K48-linked ubiquitous degradation of p53 in a RING-domain-dependent way. Therefore we demonstrated that TRIM31 promoted anoikis-resistance by targeting p53 for degradation and subsequently overactivating AMPK pathway. Thus our study defined for the first time the role of TRIM31 in the anoikis-resistant process of HCC cells, and it may pave a new avenue for manipulation of metastatic cancer by targeting TRIM31.

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