Genomic Amplification of UBQLN4 Is a Prognostic and Treatment Resistance Factor

Yuta Kobayashi, Matias A. Bustos, Yoshiaki Shoji, Ron D. Jachimowicz, Yosef Shiloh, Dave S.B. Hoon*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ubiquilin-4 (UBQLN4) is a proteasomal shuttle factor that directly binds to ubiquitylated proteins and delivers its cargo to the 26S proteasome for degradation. We previously showed that upregulated UBQLN4 determines the DNA damage response (DDR) through the degradation of MRE11A. However, the regulatory mechanism at DNA level, transcriptionally and post-transcriptional levels that control UBQLN4 mRNA levels remains unknown. In this study, we screened 32 solid tumor types and validated our findings by immunohistochemistry analysis. UBQLN4 is upregulated at both mRNA and protein levels and the most significant values were observed in liver, breast, ovarian, lung, and esophageal cancers. Patients with high UBQLN4 mRNA levels had significantly poor prognoses in 20 of 32 cancer types. DNA amplification was identified as the main mechanism promoting UBQLN4 upregulation in multiple cancers, even in the early phases of tumor development. Using CRISPR screen datasets, UBQLN4 was identified as a common essential gene for tumor cell viability in 81.1% (860/1,060) of the solid tumor derived cell lines. Ovarian cancer cell lines with high UBQLN4 mRNA levels were platinum-based chemotherapy resistant, while they were more sensitive to poly (adenosine diphosphate-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi). Our findings highlight the utilities of UBQLN4 as a significant pan-cancer theranostic factor and a precision oncology biomarker for DDR-related drug resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3311
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 2022


FundersFunder number
Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation


    • DDR
    • MRE11A
    • PARPi
    • Ubiquilin-4
    • chemotherapy resistance
    • genome amplification
    • prognosis


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