Could Dysregulation of UPS be a Common Underlying Mechanism for Cancer and Neurodegeneration? Lessons from UCHL1

Javier H. Jara, Dominic D. Frank, P. Hande Özdinler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) determines the timing and extent of protein turnover in cells, and it is one of the most strictly controlled cellular mechanisms. Lack of proper control over UPS is attributed to both cancer and to neurodegenerative diseases, yet in different context and direction. Cancerous cells have altered cellular metabolisms, uncontrolled cellular division, and increased proteasome activity. The specialized function prevent neurons from undergoing cellular division but allow them to extend an axon over long distances, establish connections, and to form stable neuronal circuitries. Neurons heavily depend on the proper function of the proteasome and the UPS for their proper function. Reduction of UPS function in vulnerable neurons results in protein aggregation, increased ER stress, and cell death. Identification of compounds that selectively block proteasome function in distinct set of malignancies added momentum to drug discovery efforts, and deubiquitinases (DUBs) gained much attention. This review will focus on ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase L1 (UCHL1), a DUB that is attributed to both cancer and neurodegeneration. The potential of developing effective treatment strategies for two major health problems by controlling the function of UPS opens up new avenues for innovative approaches and therapeutic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalCell Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013


  • DUB
  • Neurodegenerative diseases
  • Tumorigenesis
  • Ubiquitin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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