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Principal Investigator: Huang, Tony Tung
Institute Receiving Award New York University School Of Medicine
Location New York, NY
Grant Number R01ES025166
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 30 Sep 2015 to 31 Aug 2022
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant):  : The deregulation of genome stability pathways caused by environmental agents is a major culprit of tumorigenesis in human cells; protein ubiquitination, a reversible posttranslational signaling process, is essential for maintaining this regulation. The ubiquitination status of a target protein is achieved via a delicate balance between two opposing forces: ubiquitin E3 ligases and deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs). It has been postulated that the majority of proteins in a cell are regulated and modified by ubiquitin at some point; however, due to the multitude of DUBs present in cells, many of the modifications only exist transiently and are difficult to capture. There are nearly one hundred DUBs encoded in the human genome, many of which have uncharacterized function(s) and regulation. DUBs play an essential role in the maintenance of genomic stability, and their aberrant expression has been linked to tumorigenesis. The regulation of DUBs in mammalian cells and how this affects genome stability pathways remain unclear. DUBs constitute a large family of cysteine (Cys) proteases yet basic information on how the enzymatic activity of DUBs is modulated by oxidative stress caused by either environmental agents or intracellular signals is lacking. We recently discovered that bursts of reactive oxygen species (ROS) reversibly inactivate specific DUBs through the oxidation of the catalytic Cys residue. Importantly, the DUB USP1, a key regulator of the Fanconi Anemia (FA) genomic stability pathway and PCNA-mediated translesion synthesis (TLS), was reversibly inactivated upon oxidative stress. We hypothesize that DUBs of the cysteine protease family act as ROS sensors in human cells and that ROS-mediated DUB inactivation is a critical mechanism for fine-tuning genome stability pathways in both health and disease. Herein, we propose to dissect the different mechanisms of DUB regulation using USP1 as a model system, and then extend the analysis to other Cys- and metallo-based DUBs. We will elucidate the mechanisms and functions of DUB oxidation by using a set of unique biochemical and mass spectrometry-based assays to capture and characterize the reversibly oxidized form(s) of DUBs. We will investigate the role of DUB oxidation in DNA repair and cell growth pathways by generating DUB mutants that remain active, yet resistant to reversible oxidation. Finally, we will employ a unique approach to collect and study novel ubiquitinated species that are regulated by oxidative stress. Together, our studies will reveal core principles of deubiquitination and genome stability regulation, and will likely provide guidance for the development of novel classes of therapeutics that target DUBs.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 09 - Genome Integrity
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer Daniel Shaughnessy