Letter

Nature 455, 813-817 (9 October 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07290; Received 12 December 2007; Accepted 31 July 2008; Published online 20 August 2008

The deubiquitinylation and localization of PTEN are regulated by a HAUSP–PML network

Min Sup Song1, Leonardo Salmena1,4, Arkaitz Carracedo1,4, Ainara Egia1, Francesco Lo-Coco2, Julie Teruya-Feldstein3 & Pier Paolo Pandolfi1

  1. Cancer Genetics Program, Beth Israel Deaconess Cancer Center and Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA
  2. Department of Biopathology, University of Tor Vergata, Rome 00133, Italy
  3. Department of Pathology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Sloan-Kettering Institute, 1275 York Avenue, New York, New York 10021, USA
  4. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Pier Paolo Pandolfi1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to P.P.P. (Email: ppandolf@bidmc.harvard.edu).

Nuclear exclusion of the PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted in chromosome 10) tumour suppressor has been associated with cancer progression1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. However, the mechanisms leading to this aberrant PTEN localization in human cancers are currently unknown. We have previously reported that ubiquitinylation of PTEN at specific lysine residues regulates its nuclear–cytoplasmic partitioning7. Here we show that functional promyelocytic leukaemia protein (PML) nuclear bodies co-ordinate PTEN localization by opposing the action of a previously unknown PTEN-deubiquitinylating enzyme, herpesvirus-associated ubiquitin-specific protease (HAUSP, also known as USP7), and that the integrity of this molecular framework is required for PTEN to be able to enter the nucleus. We find that PTEN is aberrantly localized in acute promyelocytic leukaemia, in which PML function is disrupted by the PML–RARalpha fusion oncoprotein. Remarkably, treatment with drugs that trigger PML–RARalpha degradation, such as all-trans retinoic acid or arsenic trioxide, restore nuclear PTEN. We demonstrate that PML opposes the activity of HAUSP towards PTEN through a mechanism involving the adaptor protein DAXX (death domain-associated protein). In support of this paradigm, we show that HAUSP is overexpressed in human prostate cancer and is associated with PTEN nuclear exclusion. Thus, our results delineate a previously unknown PML–DAXX–HAUSP molecular network controlling PTEN deubiquitinylation and trafficking, which is perturbed by oncogenic cues in human cancer, in turn defining a new deubiquitinylation-dependent model for PTEN subcellular compartmentalization.

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