Abstract Background BRCA1-associated protein 1 (BAP1) is an ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase, which forms a multi-protein complex with different epigenetic factors, such as ASXL1-3 and FOXK1/2. At the chromatin level, BAP1 catalyzes the removal of mono-ubiquitination on histone H2AK119 in collaboration with other subunits within the complex and functions as a transcriptional activator in mammalian cells. However, the crosstalk between different subunits and how these subunits impact BAP1’s function remains unclear. Results We report the identification of the methyl-CpG-binding domain proteins 5 and 6 (MBD5 and MBD6) that bind to the C-terminal PHD fingers of the large scaffold subunits ASXL1-3 and stabilize the BAP1 complex at the chromatin. We further identify a novel Drosophila protein, the six-banded (SBA), as an ortholog of human MBD5 and MBD6, and demonstrate that the core modules of the BAP1 complex is structurally and functionally conserved from Drosophila (Calypso/ASX/SBA) to human cells (BAP1/ASXL/MBD). Dysfunction of the BAP1 complex induced by the misregulation/mutations in its subunit(s) are frequent in many human cancers. In BAP1-dependent human cancers, such as small cell lung cancer (SCLC), MBD6 tends to be a part of the predominant complex formed. Therefore, depletion of MBD6 leads to a global loss of BAP1 occupancy at the chromatin, resulting in a reduction of BAP1-dependent gene expression and tumor growth in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions We characterize MBD5 and MBD6 as important regulators of the BAP1 complex and maintain its transcriptional landscape, shedding light on the therapeutic potential of targeting MBD5 and MBD6 in BAP1-dependent human cancers.
|Date made available||2022|