The HECT E3 ligase E6AP/UBE3A as a therapeutic target in cancer and neurological disorders

Asia Owais, Rama K. Mishra, Hiroaki Kiyokawa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The HECT (Homologous to the E6-AP Carboxyl Terminus)-family protein E6AP (E6-associated protein), encoded by the UBE3A gene, is a multifaceted ubiquitin ligase that controls diverse signaling pathways involved in cancer and neurological disorders. The oncogenic role of E6AP in papillomavirus-induced cancers is well known, with its action to trigger p53 degradation in complex with the E6 viral oncoprotein. However, the roles of E6AP in non-viral cancers remain poorly defined. It is well established that loss-of-function alterations of the UBE3A gene cause Angelman syndrome, a severe neurodevelopmental disorder with autosomal dominant inheritance modified by genomic imprinting on chromosome 15q. Moreover, excess dosage of the UBE3A gene markedly increases the penetrance of autism spectrum disorders, suggesting that the expression level of UBE3A must be regulated tightly within a physiologically tolerated range during brain development. In this review, current the knowledge about the substrates of E6AP-mediated ubiquitination and their functions in cancer and neurological disorders is discussed, alongside with the ongoing efforts to pharmacologically modulate this ubiquitin ligase as a promising therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2108
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Angelman syndrome
  • Autism
  • Chromosome 15q
  • E3 ligase
  • Imprinting
  • Oncoproteins
  • Small molecules
  • Tumor suppressors
  • Ubiquitin
  • Viral oncogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'The HECT E3 ligase E6AP/UBE3A as a therapeutic target in cancer and neurological disorders'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this