Cancer letters

Chimeric ubiquitin ligases inhibit non-small cell lung cancer via negative modulation of EGFR signaling.

PMID 25573345


Targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) represents a promising therapeutic strategy for non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). The ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) is a major pathway that mediates protein degradation. To target the degradation of EGFR, we generated two artificial ubiquitin ligases, which are composed of an EGFR-binding domain, i.e., the SH2 domain from growth factor receptor binding protein 2 (Grb2), and an ubiquitin ligase catalytic domain, i.e., the RING domain from Cbl or the U-box domain from CHIP. When the chimeric ubiquitin ligases were introduced into lung cancer SPC-A1 cells, they effectively associated with EGFR, promoted its ubiquitination and degradation, and as a result, blocked the downstream PI3K-Akt signal pathway. Moreover, cell proliferation and invasion were inhibited, the sensitivity to docetaxel-induced apoptosis was enhanced and the tumorigenicity was suppressed. In conclusion, negative modulation of EGFR signaling by the chimeric ubiquitin ligases can inhibit malignancy of SPC-A1 cells and sensitize these cells to chemotherapy, thus it may be applied to targeted therapy for NSCLC.