, Volume 70, Issue 3, pp 545-558

Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 blocks mitosis in human melanoma cells

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Abstract

Hypermethylation of SOCS genes is associated with many human cancers, suggesting a role as tumor suppressors. As adaptor molecules for ubiquitin ligases, SOCS proteins modulate turnover of numerous target proteins. Few SOCS targets identified so far have a direct role in cell cycle progression; the mechanism by which SOCS regulate the cell cycle thus remains largely unknown. Here we show that SOCS1 overexpression inhibits in vitro and in vivo expansion of human melanoma cells, and that SOCS1 associates specifically with Cdh1, triggering its degradation by the proteasome. Cells therefore show a G1/S transition defect, as well as a secondary blockade in mitosis and accumulation of cells in metaphase. SOCS1 expression correlated with a reduction in cyclin D/E levels and an increase in the tumor suppressor p19, as well as the CDK inhibitor p53, explaining the G1/S transition defect. As a result of Cdh1 degradation, SOCS1-expressing cells accumulated cyclin B1 and securin, as well as apparently inactive Cdc20, in mitosis. Levels of the late mitotic Cdh1 substrate Aurora A did not change. These observations comprise a hitherto unreported mechanism of SOCS1 tumor suppression, suggesting this molecule as a candidate for the design of new therapeutic strategies for human melanoma.