Deficiency of Carbamoyl Phosphate Synthetase 1 Engenders Radioresistance in Hepatocellular Carcinoma via Deubiquitinating c-Myc

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2023 Apr 1;115(5):1244-1256. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2022.11.022. Epub 2022 Nov 22.


Purpose: Tumor radiation resistance is the main obstacle to effective radiation therapy for patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We identified the role of urea cycle key enzyme carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 1 (CPS1) in radioresistance of HCC and explored its mechanism, aiming to provide a novel radiosensitization strategy for the CPS1-deficiency HCC subtype.

Methods and materials: The expression of CPS1 was measured by western blot and immunohistochemistry. Cell growth assay, EdU assay, cell apoptosis assay, cell cycle assay, clone formation assay, and subcutaneous tumor assay were performed to explore the relationship between CPS1 and radioresistance of HCC cells. Lipid metabonomic analysis was used for investigating the effects of CPS1 on lipid synthesis of HCC cells. RNA sequencing and coimmunoprecipitation assay were carried out to reveal the mechanism of CPS1 participating in the regulation of HCC radiation therapy resistance. Furthermore, 10074-G5, the specific inhibitor of c-Myc, was administered to HCC cells to investigate the role of c-Myc in CPS1-deficiency HCC cells.

Results: We found that urea cycle key enzyme CPS1 was frequently lower in human HCC samples and positively associated with the patient's prognosis. Functionally, the present study proved that CPS1 depletion could accelerate the development of HCC and induce radiation resistance of HCC in vitro and in vivo, and deficiency of CPS1 promoted the synthesis of some lipid molecules. Regarding the mechanism, we uncovered that inhibition of CPS1 upregulated CyclinA2 and CyclinD1 by stabilizing oncoprotein c-Myc at the posttranscriptional level and generated radioresistance of HCC cells. Moreover, inactivation of c-Myc using 10074-G5, a specific c-Myc inhibitor, could partially attenuate the proliferation and radioresistance induced by depletion of CPS1.

Conclusions: Our results recapitulated that silencing CPS1 could promote HCC progression and radioresistance via c-Myc stability mediated by the ubiquitin-proteasome system, suggesting that targeting c-Myc in CPS1-deficiency HCC subtype may be a valuable radiosensitization strategy in the treatment of HCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase (Ammonia) / chemistry
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase (Ammonia) / genetics
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase (Ammonia) / metabolism
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase I Deficiency Disease* / genetics
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase I Deficiency Disease* / metabolism
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase I Deficiency Disease* / pathology
  • Carbamyl Phosphate
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular* / radiotherapy
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Humans
  • Lipids
  • Liver Neoplasms* / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms* / radiotherapy
  • Urea


  • Carbamyl Phosphate
  • Carbamoyl-Phosphate Synthase (Ammonia)
  • Urea
  • Lipids