Identification of a Src tyrosine kinase/SIAH2 E3 ubiquitin ligase pathway that regulates C/EBP expression and contributes to transformation of breast tumor cells. Academic Article uri icon


  • The transcription factor CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein delta (C/EBP, CEBPD) is a tumor suppressor that is downregulated during breast cancer progression but may also promote metastasis. Here, we have investigated the mechanism(s) regulating C/EBP expression and its role in human breast cancer cells. We describe a novel pathway by which the tyrosine kinase Src downregulates C/EBP through the SIAH2 E3 ubiquitin ligase. Src phosphorylates SIAH2 in vitro and leads to tyrosine phosphorylation and activation of SIAH2 in breast tumor cell lines. SIAH2 interacts with C/EBP, but not C/EBP, and promotes its polyubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. Src/SIAH2-mediated inhibition of C/EBP expression supports elevated cyclin D1 levels, phosphorylation of retinoblastoma protein (Rb), motility, invasive properties, and survival of transformed cells. Pharmacological inhibition of Src family kinases by SKI-606 (bosutinib) induces C/EBP expression in an SIAH2-dependent manner, which is necessary for "therapeutic" responses to SKI-606 in vitro. Ectopic expression of degradation-resistant mutants of C/EBP, which do not interact with SIAH2 and/or cannot be polyubiquitinated, prevents full transformation of MCF-10A cells by activated Src (Src truncated at amino acid 531 [Src-531]) in vitro. These data reveal that C/EBP expression can be regulated at the protein level by oncogenic Src kinase signals through SIAH2, thus contributing to breast epithelial cell transformation.

published proceedings

  • Mol Cell Biol

author list (cited authors)

  • Sarkar, T. R., Sharan, S., Wang, J., Pawar, S. A., Cantwell, C. A., Johnson, P. F., ... Sterneck, E.

citation count

  • 57

complete list of authors

  • Sarkar, Tapasree Roy||Sharan, Shikha||Wang, Jun||Pawar, Snehalata A||Cantwell, Carrie A||Johnson, Peter F||Morrison, Deborah K||Wang, Ju-Ming||Sterneck, Esta

publication date

  • January 2012