BCL2A1 is an anti-apoptotic member of the BCL-2 family that contributes to chemoresistance in a subset of tumors. BCL2A1 has a short half-life due to its constitutive processing by the ubiquitin–proteasome system. This constitutes a major tumor-suppressor mechanism regulating BCL2A1 function. However, the enzymes involved in the regulation of BCL2A1 protein stability are currently unknown. Here, we provide the first insight into the regulation of BCL2A1 ubiquitination. We present evidence that TRIM28 is an E3 ubiquitin-ligase for BCL2A1. Indeed, endogenous TRIM28 and BCL2A1 bind to each other at the mitochondria and TRIM28 knock-down decreases BCL2A1 ubiquitination. We also show that TRIM17 stabilizes BCL2A1 by blocking TRIM28 from binding and ubiquitinating BCL2A1, and that GSK3 is involved in the phosphorylation-mediated inhibition of BCL2A1 degradation. BCL2A1 and its close relative MCL1 are thus regulated by common factors but with opposite outcome. Finally, overexpression of TRIM28 or knock-out of TRIM17 reduced BCLA1 protein levels and restored sensitivity of melanoma cells to BRAF-targeted therapy. Therefore, our data describe a molecular rheostat in which two proteins of the TRIM family antagonistically regulate BCL2A1 stability and modulate cell death.

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This work was supported by grants from La Ligue contre le Cancer, regional committees of Drôme, Hérault and Lozère (to J.K.) and Gard (to S.D.), the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Leukaemia Foundation Australia, and Cancer Council Victoria Venture Grant (to M.J.H.), World Cancer Research 15-0177 (to P.R.P.). L.L. was supported by the University of Montpellier, La Ligue Nationale contre le Cancer and by the Programme de mobilité scientifique from the embassy of France in Australia. J.K. was supported by the University of Lyon and was recipient of a délégation CNRS program. The authors thank the Protein Science Facility of the SFR Biosciences Lyon for their valuable expertize and technical assistance in mass spectrometry analysis and Aurélie Cornut-Thibault for preparation of samples. The authors also thank the staff of Montpellier Genomic Collection platform for providing TRIM28 cDNA clones and the imaging facility MRI, member of the National Infrastructure France-BioImaging supported by the French National Research Agency (ANR-10-INBS-04, “Investments for the future”) for Microscopy and Cytometry Analysis. The authors are grateful to Drs. Nathalie Bonnefoy, Véronique Baldin, Olivier Coux, Damien Grégoire, Florence Cammas, and Anne-Marie Marini for fruitful discussions and reagents, Gilles Salles (HCL, Lyon-Sud) for support during the early stages of this work, and John A. Hickman for critical reading of the manuscript.

Author contributions

J.K. and S.D. conceived the study, designed the experiments, and wrote the manuscript. L.L. performed the experiments, analyzed data, and prepared figures. P.D., M.S.B, F.G., B.M., M.-A.D., S.M., I.L., and C.C. performed experiments. A.J.K. and M.P. generated and analyzed CRISPR sequencing data. R.R. produced reagents. P.R.P. contributed to experimental design and provided reagents. A.A. contributed to experimental design of the MS/MS analysis and assisted in phylogenetic discussions. M.J.H. generated reagents, designed CRISPR/Cas9 experiments, and provided invaluable access to facilities.

Author information

Author notes

    • Barbara Mojsa

    Present address: Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression, Sir James Black Centre, School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, DD1 5EH, UK

  1. These authors jointly supervised this work: Solange Desagher, Jérôme Kucharczak.


  1. Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, CNRS, Univ. Montpellier, 34293, Montpellier, France

    • Loïc Lionnard
    • , Pauline Duc
    • , Francesca Guardia
    • , Barbara Mojsa
    • , Maria-Alessandra Damiano
    • , Stéphan Mora
    • , Iréna Lassot
    • , Solange Desagher
    •  & Jérôme Kucharczak
  2. Univ. Lyon, Univ. Claude Bernard Lyon 1, Laboratory of Biology and Modelling of the Cell (LBMC), Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, F-69007, Lyon, France

    • Loïc Lionnard
    • , Abdel Aouacheria
    •  & Jérôme Kucharczak
  3. The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville,, VIC 3052, Australia

    • Margs S. Brennan
    • , Andrew J. Kueh
    • , Martin Pal
    •  & Marco J. Herold
  4. Department of Medical Biology, University of Melbourne, Parkville,, VIC 3050, Australia

    • Margs S. Brennan
    • , Andrew J. Kueh
    • , Martin Pal
    •  & Marco J. Herold
  5. Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital, Memphis, TN, 38105-3678, USA

    • Ramya Ravichandran
    •  & Patrick Ryan Potts
  6. University Grenoble Alpes, INSERM, CNRS, BIG-BCI Biology of Cancer and Infection, Grenoble, F- 38054, France

    • Claude Cochet
  7. ISEM - Institut des Sciences de l’Evolution de Montpellier, UMR 5554 | University of Montpellier|CNRS|IRD|EPHE, Place Eugène Bataillon, 34095, Montpellier, France

    • Abdel Aouacheria


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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Solange Desagher or Jérôme Kucharczak.

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