USP22 Antagonizes p53 Transcriptional Activation by Deubiquitinating Sirt1 to Suppress Cell Apoptosis and Is Required for Mouse Embryonic Development

Zhenghong Lin, Heeyoung Yang, Qingfei Kong, Jinping Li, Sang Myeong Lee, Beixue Gao, Hongxin Dong, Jianjun Wei, Jianxun Song, Donna D. Zhang, Deyu Fang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

153 Scopus citations


The NAD-dependent histone deacetylase Sirt1 antagonizes p53 transcriptional activity to regulate cell-cycle progression and apoptosis. We have identified a ubiquitin-specific peptidase, USP22, one of the 11 death-from-cancer signature genes that are critical in controlling cell growth and death, as a positive regulator of Sirt1. USP22 interacts with and stabilizes Sirt1 by removing polyubiquitin chains conjugated onto Sirt1. The USP22-mediated stabilization of Sirt1 leads to decreasing levels of p53 acetylation and suppression of p53-mediated functions. In contrast, depletion of endogenous USP22 by RNA interference destabilizes Sirt1, inhibits Sirt1-mediated deacetylation of p53 and elevates p53-dependent apoptosis. Genetic deletion of the usp22 gene results in Sirt1 instability, elevated p53 transcriptional activity and early embryonic lethality in mice. Our study elucidates a molecular mechanism in suppression of cell apoptosis by stabilizing Sirt1 in response to DNA damage and reveals a critical physiological function of USP22 in mouse embryonic development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-494
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 25 2012


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this