Induction of NEDD8-conjugating enzyme E2 UBE2F by platinum protects lung cancer cells from apoptosis and confers to platinum-insensitivity

Lung Cancer

Cell Death Dis. 2020 Nov 12;11(11):975. doi: 10.1038/s41419-020-03184-4.


Platinum is a widely used first-line chemotherapy in treating non-small cell lung cancer of adenocarcinoma. Unfortunately, platinum resistance leads to relapse and therapeutic failure, enabling the development of platinum-sensitization strategies to be of great clinical significance. Here, we report that the upregulation of the NEDD8-conjugating enzyme UBE2F is an important way for lung cancer cells to escape platinum-induced cell apoptosis, which confers to insensitivity to platinum-based

chemotherapy. Mechanistically, platinum treatment impairs the complex formation for proteasome-mediated UBE2F degradation, evidenced by the weaker association between UBE2F and Ring-box protein 1 (RBX1), an essential component of Cullin-Ring E3 ligases (CRLs), thus leading to the accumulation of UBE2F. The accumulated UBE2F promotes the neddylation levels and activity of Cullin5, in accord with the lower expression of pro-apoptotic protein NOXA, a well-known substrate of Cullin-Ring E3 ligase 5 (CRL5). Additionally, knockout of UBE2F significantly sensitizes lung cancer cells to platinum treatment by enhancing the protein levels of NOXA and subsequently promoting cell apoptosis. Our observations uncover a previously unknown regulatory mechanism of UBE2F stability upon platinum chemotherapy and suggest that UBE2F might be a novel therapy target for sensitizing lung cancer cells to platinum-based chemotherapy.