Ubiquitin-specific protease TRE17/USP6 promotes tumor cell invasion through the regulation of glycoprotein CD147 intracellular trafficking

J Biol Chem. 2022 Sep;298(9):102335. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102335. Epub 2022 Aug 2.


Disordered expression and distribution of plasma membrane proteins at the cell surface leads to diverse malignant phenotypes in tumors, including cell invasion. The ubiquitin-specific protease TRE17/USP6, an oncogene identified in Ewing sarcoma, is highly expressed in several cancers and locally aggressive tumor-like lesions. We have previously demonstrated that TRE17 regulates the trafficking of plasma membrane proteins that enter cells via clathrin-independent endocytosis (CIE); TRE17 prevents CIE cargo proteins from being targeted to lysosomes for degradation by deubiquitylating them. However, functional insights into the effects of TRE17-mediated CIE cargo trafficking on cell invasion remain unknown. Here, we show that increased expression of TRE17 enhances invasiveness of the human sarcoma cell line HT-1080 by elevating the cell surface levels of the membrane glycoprotein CD147, which plays a central role in tumor progression. We demonstrate overexpression of TRE17 decreases ubiquitylated CD147, which is accompanied by suppression of CD147 transport to lysosomes, resulting in the stabilization and increase of cell surface-localized CD147. On the other hand, we show knockdown of TRE17 decreases cell surface CD147, which is coupled with reduced production of matrix metalloproteinases, the enzymes responsible for extracellular matrix degradation. Furthermore, we demonstrate that inhibition of CD147 by a specific inhibitor alleviated the TRE17-promoted tumor cell invasion. We therefore propose a model for the pathogenesis of TRE17-driven tumors in which TRE17 increases CD147 at the cell surface by preventing its lysosomal degradation, which in turn enhances matrix metalloproteinase synthesis and matrix degradation, thereby promoting tumor cell invasion.

Keywords: cancer biology; cell invasion; deubiquitylation; intracellular trafficking; ubiquitin-specific protease (USP).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Basigin* / metabolism
  • Bone Neoplasms* / enzymology
  • Bone Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Clathrin / genetics
  • Humans
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins* / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins* / metabolism
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Sarcoma, Ewing* / enzymology
  • Sarcoma, Ewing* / pathology
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase* / genetics
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase* / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases* / genetics
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases* / metabolism


  • BSG protein, human
  • Clathrin
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Basigin
  • USP6 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin Thiolesterase
  • Ubiquitin-Specific Proteases
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases