Emerging role of DUBs in tumor metastasis and apoptosis: Therapeutic implication

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Malfunction of ubiquitin-proteasome system is tightly linked to tumor formation and tumor metastasis. Targeting the ubiquitin-pathway provides a new strategy for anti-cancer therapy. Despite the parts played by ubiquitin modifiers, removal of ubiquitin from the functional proteins by the deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) plays an important role in governing the multiple steps of the metastatic cascade, including local invasion, dissemination, and eventual colonization of the tumor to distant organs. Both deregulated ubiquitination and deubiquitination could lead to dysregulation of various critical events and pathways such as apoptosis and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Recent TCGA study has further revealed the connection between mutations of DUBs and various types of tumors. In addition, emerging drug design targeting DUBs provides a new strategy for anti-cancer therapy. In this review, we will summarize the role of deubiquitination and highlight the recent discoveries of DUBs with regards to multiple metastatic events including anti-apoptosis pathway and EMT. We will further discuss the regulation of deubiquitination as a novel strategy for anti-cancer therapy.

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