Functional and biochemical analysis of a novel deubiquitinating enzyme, USP32

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Biology, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012




Ubiquitylation is an important post-translational modification and can be reversed by the action of deubiquitinating (DUB) enzymes. The ubiquitylation and deubiquitylation of target proteins are significant in terms of regulating cellular events such as protein degradation, signal transduction, vesicle trafficking, DNA repair and apoptosis. Chromosomal band 17q23 is frequently amplified in breast cancers and harbors a predicted ubiquitin specific protease gene, USP32 (ubiquitin specific protease 32). Given its potential role in breast cancer, we aimed to characterize USP32 for its potential DUB activity. Bioinformatic analysis of USP32 and known yeast and mouse DUBs suggested presence of Cys-His domains which are common in active DUBs of the USP superfamily. Our in vivo and in vitro DUB activity assays revealed that USP32 was indeed an active deubiquitinating enzyme. To investigate its substrate specificity and kinetic properties, USP32 was expressed in insect cell culture to be isolated and purified. Using isolated USP32 protein, diubiquitin assay was performed with all seven types of diubiquitin (K6, K11, K27, K29, K33, K48 and K63) as well as linear diubiquitin. Results showed that USP32 was able to cleave all seven types of ubiquitin linkages with higher cleavage efficiency for K6, K11, K48 and K63-linked diubiquitin. Moreover, kinetic parameters, Km, kcat and kcat/ Km, suggested that full length protein had lower affinity for potential substrates and lower catalytic activity compared to the catalytic domain alone. These data suggested the importance of USP32 tertiary structure and possible role of other non DUB domains (e.g. EF hand domain) which may be regulated by an as of unknown mechanism in cells. Further investigations are underway to understand the functions of USP32 in cells and how it may contribute to breast tumorigenesis.