Novel roles of hakai in cell proliferation and oncogenesis

Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Aug;20(15):3533-42. doi: 10.1091/mbc.e08-08-0845. Epub 2009 Jun 17.


During tumor development, cells acquire multiple phenotypic changes upon misregulation of oncoproteins and tumor suppressor proteins. Hakai was originally identified as an E3 ubiquitin-ligase for the E-cadherin complex that regulates cell-cell contacts. Here, we present evidence that Hakai plays a crucial role in various cellular processes and tumorigenesis. Overexpression of Hakai affects not only cell-cell contacts but also proliferation in both epithelial and fibroblast cells. Furthermore, the knockdown of Hakai significantly suppresses proliferation of transformed epithelial cells. Expression of Hakai is correlated to the proliferation rate in human tissues and is highly up-regulated in human colon and gastric adenocarcinomas. Moreover, we identify PTB-associated splicing factor (PSF), an RNA-binding protein, as a novel Hakai-interacting protein. By using cDNA arrays, we have determined various specific PSF-associated mRNAs encoding proteins that are involved in several cancer-related processes. Hakai affects the ability of PSF to bind these mRNAs, and expression of PSF short hairpin RNA or a dominant-negative PSF mutant significantly suppresses proliferation of Hakai-overexpressing cells. Collectively, these results suggest that Hakai is an important regulator of cell proliferation and that Hakai may be an oncoprotein and a potential molecular target for cancer treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation*
  • Endometrium / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lymph Nodes / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mutation
  • NIH 3T3 Cells
  • Neoplasms / genetics
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • PTB-Associated Splicing Factor
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Cadherins
  • PTB-Associated Splicing Factor
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • CBLL1 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases