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The E3 ubiquitin ligase HACE1 : characterization of its regulation by phosphorylation and demonstration of its role in cellular cohesion

Abstract : The E3 ubiquitin ligase HACE1 is a key regulator of cellular homeostasis best-characterized for its ability to control the activity of the Rho GTPase Rac1. This GTPase is encoded by an essential gene whose product controls a wide array of cellular processes such as cell adhesion, migration and proliferation. Accordingly, the repression of HACE1 expression due to genetic and epigenetic alterations has been associated with numerous pathologies, including cancer, neurodegenerative and developmental diseases. However, nothing is known about the posttranslational regulation of HACE1 activity. Here, we unveiled that HACE1 gets phosphorylated at serine Ser-385 by Group-I Pak kinases in response to Rac1/Cdc42 activation. Mechanistically, we define that the phospho-mimetic mutant HACE1(S385E) displays a lower capacity to ubiquitinate Rac1 in cells. In addition, our work attributes to the phosphorylation of Ser-385 a pivotal role in the state of HACE1 oligomerization, which sets the basis for deciphering the relationship between HACE1 structure and activity. In parallel, we have found that the loss of HACE1 expression leads to the disruption of epithelial monolayer cohesion characterized by disrupted of cell-cell junctions. Accordingly, we determined that loss of HACE1 results in the acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) features, including a transcriptionally regulated switch of expression between E-cadherin and N-cadherin. Altogether, this work reveals a phospho-mediated regulation of HACE1 activity that is under the control of Group I PAKs and implicates HACE1 in the balance between epithelium integrity versus EMT.
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María Isabel Acosta-López. The E3 ubiquitin ligase HACE1 : characterization of its regulation by phosphorylation and demonstration of its role in cellular cohesion. Molecular biology. Université Côte d'Azur, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017AZUR4065⟩. ⟨tel-01875026⟩

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