USP41 Enhances Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition of Breast Cancer Cells through Snail Stabilization

Int J Mol Sci. 2023 Jan 15;24(2):1693. doi: 10.3390/ijms24021693.


Ubiquitination, one of many post-translational modifications, causes proteasome-mediated protein degradation by attaching ubiquitin to target proteins. Multiple deubiquitinases inhibit the ubiquitination pathway by removing the ubiquitin chain from protein, thus contributing to the stabilization of substrates. USP41 contributes to invasion, apoptosis and drug resistance in breast and lung cancer cells. However, the detailed mechanism and role of USP41 in breast cancer have not been elucidated. USP41 was overexpressed and showed poor prognosis according to the aggressive phenotype of breast cancer cells. Knockdown of USP41 inhibited migration and growth of breast cancer cells, whereas overexpression of USP41 increased cell growth and migration. In addition, depletion of USP41 downregulated Snail protein expression, an epithelial-mesenchymal transition marker, but not mRNA expression. Furthermore, USP41 interacted with and inhibited ubiquitination of Snail, resulting in the increase in Snail stabilization. Therefore, these data demonstrated that USP41 increases migration of breast cancer cells through Snail stabilization.

Keywords: EMT; USP41; breast cancer; deubiquitinase; snail.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition* / genetics
  • Neoplasms*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitination


  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Ubiquitin