SUMO3 modification by PIAS1 modulates androgen receptor cellular distribution and stability

Cell Commun Signal. 2019 Nov 21;17(1):153. doi: 10.1186/s12964-019-0457-9.


Background: Abnormal reactivation of androgen receptor (AR) signaling in castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) mainly results from overexpression and down-regulation of AR. Sumoylation of AR can influence its function. However, regulation of AR sumoylation by SUMO E3 ligases PIASs to modify AR distribution and stability are not well understood.

Methods: We assessed the potential effect of SUMO3 modification on AR intracellular localization by immunostaining in AR-negative prostate cancer DU145 cells, and detected the effect of PIAS1/SUMO3 overexpression on AR sumoylation related degradation. Then we characterized AR sumoylation sites involved modified by SUMO3, and the key residue of PIAS1 involved in itself sumoylation and further mediated AR sumoylation (sumo3-conjugated), translocation and degradation. Finally we detected the recognition of PIAS1 (sumoylation ligase) to MDM2, a ubiquin ligase mediated AR degradation.

Results: We demonstrate that SUMO E3 ligase PIAS1, along with SUMO3, mediates AR cytosolic translocation and subsequent degradation via a ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. Although AR sumoylation occurs prior to ubiquitination, the SUMO-acceptor lysine 386 on AR, together with ubiquitin-acceptor lysine 845, contribute to PIAS1/SUMO3-induced AR nuclear export, ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. Moreover, PIAS1 itself is modified by SUMO3 overexpression, and mutation of SUMO-acceptor lysine 117 on PIAS1 can impair AR cytoplasmic distribution, demonstrating the essential role of sumoylated PIAS1 in AR translocation. We further determine that sumoylated PIAS1 interacts with AR lysine 386 and 845 to form a binary complex. Consistent with the effect on AR distribution, SUMO3 modification of PIAS1 is also required for AR ubiquitination and degradation by recruiting ubiquitin E3 ligase MDM2.

Conclusion: Taken together, SUMO3 modification of PIAS1 modulates AR cellular distribution and stability. Our study provided the evidence the crosstalk between AR sumoylation and ubquitination mediated by PIAS1 and SUMO3.

Keywords: Androgen receptor; SUMO3; Sumoylation, PIAS1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT / metabolism*
  • Protein Stability
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sumoylation
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination
  • Ubiquitins / metabolism*


  • PIAS1 protein, human
  • Protein Inhibitors of Activated STAT
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • SUMO3 protein, human
  • Small Ubiquitin-Related Modifier Proteins
  • Ubiquitins
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases