Nuclear ubiquitination by FBXL5 modulates Snail1 DNA binding and stability

Rosa Viñas-Castells, Álex Frías, Estefanía Robles-Lanuza, Kun Zhang, Gregory D. Longmore, Antonio García De Herreros, Víctor M. Díaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The zinc finger transcription factor Snail1 regulates epithelial to mesenchymal transition, repressing epithelial markers and activating mesenchymal genes. Snail1 is an extremely labile protein degraded by the cytoplasmic ubiquitin-ligases β-TrCP1/FBXW1 and Ppa/FBXL14. Using a short hairpin RNA screening, we have identified FBXL5 as a novel Snail1 ubiquitin ligase. FBXL5 is located in the nucleus where it interacts with Snail1 promoting its polyubiquitination and affecting Snail1 protein stability and function by impairing DNA binding. Snail1 downregulation by FBXL5 is prevented by Lats2, a protein kinase that phosphorylates Snail1 precluding its nuclear export but not its polyubiquitination. Actually, although polyubiquitination by FBXL5 takes place in the nucleus, Snail1 is degraded in the cytosol. Finally, FBXL5 is highly sensitive to stress conditions and is downregulated by iron depletion and γ-irradiation, explaining Snail1 stabilization in these conditions. These results characterize a novel nuclear ubiquitin ligase controlling Snail1 protein stability and provide the molecular basis for understanding how radiotherapy upregulates the epithelial to mesenchymal transition-inducer Snail1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1079-1094
Number of pages16
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'Nuclear ubiquitination by FBXL5 modulates Snail1 DNA binding and stability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this