J Cancer 2015; 6(11):1066-1078. doi:10.7150/jca.12134

Research Paper

Nucleocytoplasmic Translocation of UBXN2A Is Required for Apoptosis during DNA Damage Stresses in Colon Cancer Cells

Ammara Abdullah1, Sanam Sane1, Jessica L Freeling1, Hongmin Wang1, Dong Zhang2, Khosrow Rezvani1,✉

1. Division of Basic Biomedical Sciences, Sanford School of Medicine, The University of South Dakota, 414 E. Clark Street, Lee Medical Building, Vermillion, SD 57069, USA
2. Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York Institute of Technology, Northern Blvd., P.O. Box 8000, Old Westbury, NY 11568-8000, USA

Abstract

The subcellular localization, expression level, and activity of anti-cancer proteins alter in response to intrinsic and extrinsic cellular stresses to reverse tumor progression. The purpose of this study is to determine whether UBXN2A, an activator of the p53 tumor suppressor protein, has different subcellular compartmentalization in response to the stress of DNA damage. We measured trafficking of the UBXN2A protein in response to two different DNA damage stresses, UVB irradiation and the genotoxic agent Etoposide, in colon cancer cell lines. Using a cytosol-nuclear fractionation technique followed by western blot and immunofluorescence staining, we monitored and quantitated UBXN2A and p53 proteins as well as p53's downstream apoptotic pathway.

We showed that the anti-cancer protein UBXN2A acts in the early phase of cell response to two different DNA damage stresses, being induced to translocate into the cytoplasm in a dose- and time-dependent manner. UVB-induced cytoplasmic UBXN2A binds to mortalin-2 (mot-2), a known oncoprotein in colon tumors. UVB-dependent upregulation of UBXN2A in the cytoplasm decreases p53 binding to mot-2 and activates apoptotic events in colon cancer cells. In contrast, the shRNA-mediated depletion of UBXN2A leads to significant reduction in apoptosis in colon cancer cells exposed to UVB and Etoposide. Leptomycin B (LMB), which was able to block UBXN2A nuclear export following Etoposide treatment, sustained p53-mot-2 interaction and had partially antagonistic effects with Etoposide on cell apoptosis. The present study shows that nucleocytoplasmic translocation of UBXN2A in response to stresses is necessary for its anti-cancer function in the cytoplasm. In addition, LMB-dependent suppression of UBXN2A's translocation to the cytoplasm upon stress allows the presence of an active mot-2 oncoprotein in the cytoplasm, resulting in p53 sequestration as well as activation of other mot-2-dependent growth promoting pathways.

Keywords: DNA damage stress, UBXN2A, p53, mortalin-2, colon cancer cells

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How to cite this article:
Abdullah A, Sane S, Freeling JL, Wang H, Zhang D, Rezvani K. Nucleocytoplasmic Translocation of UBXN2A Is Required for Apoptosis during DNA Damage Stresses in Colon Cancer Cells. J Cancer 2015; 6(11):1066-1078. doi:10.7150/jca.12134. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v06p1066.htm