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UBE2T-regulated H2AX monoubiquitination induces hepatocellular carcinoma radioresistance by facilitating CHK1 activation.

Journal of experimental & clinical cancer research : CR (2020-10-23)
Jingyuan Sun, Zhenru Zhu, Wenwen Li, Mengying Shen, Chuanhui Cao, Qingcan Sun, Zeqin Guo, Li Liu, Dehua Wu
ABSTRACT

Radioresistance is the major obstacle in radiation therapy (RT) for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Dysregulation of DNA damage response (DDR), which includes DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoints activation, leads to radioresistance and limits radiotherapy efficacy in HCC patients. However, the underlying mechanism have not been clearly understood. We obtained 7 pairs of HCC tissues and corresponding non-tumor tissues, and UBE2T was identified as one of the most upregulated genes. The radioresistant role of UBE2T was examined by colony formation assays in vitro and xenograft tumor models in vivo. Comet assay, cell cycle flow cytometry and γH2AX foci measurement were used to investigate the mechanism by which UBE2T mediating DDR. Chromatin fractionation and immunofluorescence staining were used to assess cell cycle checkpoint kinase 1(CHK1) activation. Finally, we analyzed clinical data from HCC patients to verify the function of UBE2T. Here, we found that ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2T (UBE2T) was upregulated in HCC tissues, and the HCC patients with higher UBE2T levels exhibited poorer outcomes. Functional studies indicated that UBE2T increased HCC radioresistance in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, UBE2T-RNF8, was identified as the E2-E3 pair, physically bonded with and monoubiquitinated histone variant H2AX/γH2AX upon radiation exposure. UBE2T-regulated H2AX/γH2AX monoubiquitination facilitated phosphorylation of CHK1 for activation and CHK1 release from the chromatin to cytosol for degradation. The interruption of UBE2T-mediated monoubiquitination on H2AX/γH2AX, including E2-enzyme-deficient mutation (C86A) of UBE2T and monoubiquitination-site-deficient mutation (K119/120R) of H2AX, cannot effectively activate CHK1. Moreover, genetical and pharmacological inhibition of CHK1 impaired the radioresistant role of UBE2T in HCC. Furthermore, clinical data suggested that the HCC patients with higher UBE2T levels exhibited worse response to radiotherapy. Our results revealed a novel role of UBE2T-mediated H2AX/γH2AX monoubiquitination on facilitating cell cycle arrest activation to provide sufficient time for radiation-induced DNA repair, thus conferring HCC radioresistance. This study indicated that disrupting UBE2T-H2AX-CHK1 pathway maybe a promising potential strategy to overcome HCC radioresistance.

MATERIALS
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