Ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme E2C (UBE2C) mediates ubiquitylation chain formation via the K11 linkage. While previous in vitro studies showed that UBE2C plays a growth-promoting role in cancer cell lines, the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Still unknown is whether and how UBE2C plays a promoting role in vivo. Here we report that UBE2C was indeed essential for growth and survival of lung cancer cells harboring Kras mutations, and UBE2C was required for KrasG12D-induced lung tumorigenesis, since Ube2c deletion significantly inhibited tumor formation and extended the lifespan of mice. Mechanistically, KrasG12D induced expression of UBE2C, which coupled with APC/CCDH1 E3 ligase to promote ubiquitylation and degradation of DEPTOR, leading to activation of mTORC signaling. Importantly, DEPTOR levels fluctuated during cell cycle progression in a manner dependent on UBE2C and CDH1, indicating their physiological connection. Finally, Deptor deletion fully rescued the tumor inhibitory effect of Ube2c deletion in the KrasG12D lung tumor model, indicating a causal role of Deptor. Taken together, our study shows that the UBE2C/CDH1/DEPTOR axis forms an oncogene and tumor suppressor cascade that regulates cell cycle progression and autophagy and validates UBE2C an attractive target for lung cancer associated with Kras mutations.
Shizhen Zhang, Xiahong You, Yawen Zheng, Yanwen Shen, Xiufang Xiong, Yi Sun