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USP7 inhibition induces apoptosis in glioblastoma by enhancing ubiquitination of ARF4

Background: Glioblastomas (GBMs) are grade IV central nervous system tumors characterized by a poor prognosis and a short median overall survival. Effective induction of GBM cell death is difficult because the GBM cell population is genetically unstable, resistant to chemotherapy and highly angiogenic. In recent studies, ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) is shown to scavenge ubiquitin from oncogenic protein substrates, so effective inhibition of USP7 may be a potential key treatment for GBM.

Methods: Immunohistochemistry and western blotting were used to detect the expression of USP7 in GBM tissues. In vitro apoptosis assay of USP7 inhibition was performed by western blotting, immunofluorescence, and flow cytometry. Anti-apoptotic substrates of USP7 were defined by Co-IP and TMT proteomics. Western blotting and IP were used to verify the relationship between USP7 and its substrate. In an in vivo experiment using an intracranial xenograft model in nude mice was constructed to assess the therapeutic effect of target USP7.

Results: Immunohistochemistry and western blotting confirmed that USP7 was significantly upregulated in glioblastoma samples. In in vitro experiments, inhibition of USP7 in GBM induced significant apoptosis. Co-IP and TMT proteomics identified a key anti-apoptotic substrate of USP7, ADP-ribosylation factor 4 (ARF4). Western blotting and IP confirmed that USP7 interacted directly with ARF4 and catalyzed the removal of the K48-linked polyubiquitinated chain that binded to ARF4. In addition, in vivo experiments revealed that USP7 inhibition significantly suppressed tumor growth and promoted the expression of apoptotic genes.

Conclusions: Targeted inhibition of USP7 enhances the ubiquitination of ARF4 and ultimately mediates the apoptosis of GBM cells. In a clinical sense, P5091 as a novel specific inhibitor of USP7 may be an effective approach for the treatment of GBM.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S7132 P5091 (P005091) P5091(P005091) is a selective and potent inhibitor of ubiquitin-specific protease 7 (USP7) with EC50 of 4.2 μM and the closely related USP47.

Related Targets

DUB