ELL targets c-Myc for proteasomal degradation and suppresses tumour growth

Author(s): Chen Y, Zhou C, Ji W, Mei Z, Hu B, et al.


Increasing evidence supports that ELL (eleven–nineteen lysine-rich leukaemia) is a key regulator of transcriptional elongation, but the physiological function of Ell in mammals remains elusive. Here we show that ELL functions as an E3 ubiquitin ligase and targets c-Myc for proteasomal degradation. In addition, we identify that UbcH8 serves as a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme in this pathway. Cysteine 595 of ELL is an active site of the enzyme; its mutation to alanine (C595A) renders the protein unable to promote the ubiquitination and degradation of c-Myc. ELL-mediated c-Myc degradation inhibits c-Myc-dependent transcriptional activity and cell proliferation, and also suppresses c-Myc-dependent xenograft tumour growth. In contrast, the ELL(C595A) mutant not only loses the ability to inhibit cell proliferation and xenograft tumour growth, but also promotes tumour metastasis. Thus, our work reveals a previously unrecognized function for ELL as an E3 ubiquitin ligase for c-Myc and a potential tumour suppressor.

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