The ubiquitin ligase TRIM25 targets ERG for degradation in prostate cancer

Shan Wang, Rahul K. Kollipara, Caroline G. Humphries, Shi Hong Ma, Ryan Hutchinson, Rui Li, Javed Siddiqui, Scott A. Tomlins, Ganesh V. Raj, Ralf Kittler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Ets related gene (ERG) is a transcription factor that is overexpressed in 40% of prostate tumors due to a gene fusion between ERG and TMPRSS2. Because ERG functions as a driver of prostate carcinogenesis, understanding the mechanisms that influence its turnover may provide new molecular handles to target the protein. Previously, we found that ERG undergoes ubiquitination and then is deubiquitinated by USP9X in prostate cancer cells to prevent its proteasomal degradation. Here, we identify Tripartite motif-containing protein 25 (TRIM25) as the E3 ubiquitin ligase that ubiquitinates the protein prior to its degradation. TRIM25 binds full-length ERG, and it also binds the N-terminally truncated variants of ERG that are expressed in tumors with TMPRSS2-ERG fusions. We demonstrate that TRIM25 polyubiquitinates ERG in vitro and that inactivation of TRIM25 resulted in reduced polyubiquitination and stabilization of ERG. TRIM25 mRNA and protein expression was increased in ERG rearrangement-positive prostate cancer specimens, and we provide evidence that ERG upregulates TRIM25 expression. Thus, overexpression of ERG in prostate cancer may cause an increase in TRIM25 activity, which is mitigated by the expression of the deubiquitinase USP9X, which is required to stabilize ERG.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64921-64931
Number of pages11
Issue number40
StatePublished - 2016


  • Oncogene
  • Prostate cancer
  • Transcription factor
  • Ubiquitination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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