Functional analysis of Cullin 3 E3 ligases in tumorigenesis

Ji Cheng, Jianping Guo, Zhiwei Wang, Brian J. North, Kaixiong Tao, Xiangpeng Dai, Wenyi Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Cullin 3-RING ligases (CRL3) play pivotal roles in the regulation of various physiological and pathological processes, including neoplastic events. The substrate adaptors of CRL3 typically contain a BTB domain that mediates the interaction between Cullin 3 and target substrates to promote their ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. The biological implications of CRL3 adaptor proteins have been well described where they have been found to play a role as either an oncogene, tumor suppressor, or can mediate either of these effects in a context-dependent manner. Among the extensively studied CRL3-based E3 ligases, the role of the adaptor protein SPOP (speckle type BTB/POZ protein) in tumorigenesis appears to be tissue or cellular context dependent. Specifically, SPOP acts as a tumor suppressor via destabilizing downstream oncoproteins in many malignancies, especially in prostate cancer. However, SPOP has largely an oncogenic role in kidney cancer. Keap1, another well-characterized CRL3 adaptor protein, likely serves as a tumor suppressor within diverse malignancies, mainly due to its specific turnover of its downstream oncogenic substrate, NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2). In accordance with the physiological role the various CRL3 adaptors exhibit, several pharmacological agents have been developed to disrupt its E3 ligase activity, therefore blocking its potential oncogenic activity to mitigate tumorigenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11-28
Number of pages18
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Reviews on Cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional analysis of Cullin 3 E3 ligases in tumorigenesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this