Ubiquitin conjugase UBCH8 targets active FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 for proteasomal degradation

Leukemia. 2010 Aug;24(8):1412-21. doi: 10.1038/leu.2010.114. Epub 2010 May 27.


The class III receptor tyrosine kinase FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) regulates normal hematopoiesis and immunological functions. Nonetheless, constitutively active mutant FLT3 (FLT3-ITD) causally contributes to transformation and is associated with poor prognosis of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients. Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) can counteract deregulated gene expression profiles and decrease oncoprotein stability, which renders them candidate drugs for AML treatment. However, these drugs have pleiotropic effects and it is often unclear how they correct oncogenic transcriptomes and proteomes. We report here that treatment of AML cells with the HDACi LBH589 induces the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme UBCH8 and degradation of FLT3-ITD. Gain- and loss-of-function approaches show that UBCH8 and the ubiquitin-ligase SIAH1 physically interact with and target FLT3-ITD for proteasomal degradation. These ubiquitinylating enzymes though have a significantly lesser effect on wild-type FLT3. Furthermore, physiological and pharmacological stimulation of FLT3 phosphorylation, inhibition of FLT3-ITD autophosphorylation and analysis of kinase-inactive FLT3-ITD revealed that tyrosine phosphorylation determines degradation of FLT3 and FLT3-ITD by the proteasome. These results provide novel insights into antileukemic activities of HDACi and position UBCH8, which have been implicated primarily in processes in the nucleus, as a previously unrecognized important modulator of FLT3-ITD stability and leukemic cell survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Separation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Hydrolysis
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / metabolism*
  • Tyrosine / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes / metabolism*
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 / genetics
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3 / metabolism*


  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Tyrosine
  • UBE2L6 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Conjugating Enzymes
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex