TRAF-interacting protein with a forkhead-associated domain B (TIFAB) is implicated in myeloid malignancies with deletion of chromosome 5q. Employing a combination of proteomic and genetic approaches, we find that TIFAB regulates ubiquitin-specific peptidase 15 (USP15) ubiquitin hydrolase activity. Expression of TIFAB in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs) permits USP15 signaling to substrates, including MDM2 and KEAP1, and mitigates p53 expression. Consequently, TIFAB-deficient HSPCs exhibit compromised USP15 signaling and are sensitized to hematopoietic stress by derepression of p53. In MLL-AF9 leukemia, deletion of TIFAB increases p53 signaling and correspondingly decreases leukemic cell function and development of leukemia. Restoring USP15 expression partially rescues the function of TIFAB-deficient MLL-AF9 cells. Conversely, elevated TIFAB represses p53, increases leukemic progenitor function, and correlates with MLL gene expression programs in leukemia patients. Our studies uncover a function of TIFAB as an effector of USP15 activity and rheostat of p53 signaling in stressed and malignant HSPCs.
Keywords: AML; DUB; TIFA; TIFAB; TRAF6; USP15; hematopoiesis; p53.
Copyright © 2020 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Conflict of interest statement
Declaration of Interests D.T.S. is a consultant for Kurome Therapeutics.
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