Ubiquitin E3 ligase WWP1 as an oncogenic factor in human prostate cancer

Oncogene. 2007 Apr 5;26(16):2386-94. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210021. Epub 2006 Oct 2.


The gene for E3 ubiquitin ligase WWP1 is located at 8q21, a region frequently amplified in human cancers, including prostate cancer. Recent studies have shown that WWP1 negatively regulates the TGFbeta tumor suppressor pathway by inactivating its molecular components, including Smad2, Smad4 and TbetaR1. These findings suggest an oncogenic role of WWP1 in carcinogenesis, but direct supporting evidence has been lacking. In this study, we examined WWP1 for gene dosage, mRNA expression, mutation and functions in a number of human prostate cancer samples. We found that the WWP1 gene had copy number gain in 15 of 34 (44%) xenografts and cell lines from prostate cancer and 15 of 49 (31%) clinical prostate cancer samples. Consistently, WWP1 was overexpressed in 60% of xenografts and cell lines from prostate cancer. Mutation of WWP1 occurred infrequently in prostate cancer. Functionally, WWP1 overexpression promoted colony formation in the 22Rv1 prostate cancer cell line. In PC-3 prostate cancer cells, WWP1 knockdown significantly suppressed cell proliferation and enhanced TGFbeta-mediated growth inhibition. These findings suggest that WWP1 is an oncogene that undergoes genomic amplification at 8q21 in human prostate cancer, and WWP1 overexpression is a common mechanism involved in the inactivation of TGFbeta function in human cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 8
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Dosage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • WWP1 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases