Proteasomal regulation of mammalian SPT16 in controlling transcription

Amala Kaja, Abhinav Adhikari, Saswati Karmakar, Wanwei Zhang, Gerson Rothschild, Uttiya Basu, Surinder K. Batra, Judith K. Davie, Sukesh R. Bhaumika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription), an essential and evolutionarily conserved heterodimer from yeast to humans, controls transcription and is found to be upregulated in various cancers. However, the basis for such upregulation is not clearly understood. Our recent results deciphering a new ubiquitin-proteasome system regulation of the FACT subunit SPT16 in orchestrating transcription in yeast hint at the involvement of the proteasome in controlling FACT in humans, with a link to cancer. To test this, we carried out experiments in human embryonic kidney (HEK293) cells, which revealed that human SPT16 undergoes ubiquitylation and that its abundance is increased following inhibition of the proteolytic activity of the proteasome, thus implying proteasomal regulation of human SPT16. Furthermore, we find that the increased abundance/expression of SPT16 in HEK293 cells alters the transcription of genes, including ones associated with cancer, and that the proteasomal degradation of SPT16 is impaired in kidney cancer (Caki-2) cells to upregulate SPT16. Like human SPT16, murine SPT16 in C2C12 cells also undergoes ubiquitylation and proteasomal degradation to regulate transcription. Collectively, our results reveal a proteasomal regulation of mammalian SPT16, with physiological relevance in controlling transcription, and implicate such proteasomal control in the upregulation of SPT16 in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere00452
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Cancer
  • FACT
  • Gene expression
  • Proteasome
  • SPT16
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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