Ubiquitin role in glioblastoma growth
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most frequent and aggressive form of primary brain tumor in the adult population; its high recurrence rate and resistance to current therapeutics urgently demand a better therapy. Regulation of protein stability by the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) represents an important control mechanism of cell growth. UPS deregulation is mechanistically linked to the development and progression of a variety of human cancers, including GBM. Thus, the UPS represents a potentially valuable target for GBM treatment. Using an integrated approach that includes proteomics, transcriptomics and metabolic profiling, we identify praja2, a RING E3 ubiquitin ligase, as the key component of a signaling network that regulates GBM cell growth and metabolism. Praja2 is preferentially expressed in primary GBM lesions expressing the wild-type isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 gene (IDH1). Mechanistically, we found that praja2 ubiquitylates and degrades the kinase suppressor of Ras 2 (KSR2). As a consequence, praja2 restrains the activity of downstream AMP-dependent protein kinase in GBM cells and attenuates the oxidative metabolism. Delivery in the brain of siRNA targeting praja2 by transferrin-targeted self-assembling nanoparticles (SANPs) prevented KSR2 degradation and inhibited GBM growth, reducing the size of the tumor and prolonging the survival rate of treated mice. These data identify praja2 as an essential regulator of cancer cell metabolism, and as a potential therapeutic target to suppress GBM growth.