ASB13 inhibits breast cancer metastasis through promoting SNAI2 degradation and relieving its transcriptional repression of YAP.
Transcription factor SNAI2 plays key roles during development and has also been known to promote metastasis by inducing invasive phenotype and tumor-initiating activity of cancer cells. However, the post-translational regulation of SNAI2 is less well studied. We performed a dual-luciferase-based, genome-wide E3 ligase siRNA library screen and identified ASB13 as an E3 ubiquitin ligase that targets SNAI2 for ubiquitination and degradation. ASB13 knockout in breast cancer cells promoted cell migration and decreased F-actin polymerization, while overexpression of ASB13 suppressed lung metastasis. Furthermore, ASB13 knockout decreased YAP expression, and such regulation is dependent on an increased protein level of SNAI2, which in turn represses YAP transcription. YAP suppresses tumor progression in breast cancer, as YAP knockout increases tumorsphere formation, anchorage-independent colony formation, cell migration in vitro, and lung metastasis in vivo. Clinical data analysis reveals that ASB13 expression is positively correlated with improved overall survival in breast cancer patients. These findings establish ASB13 as a suppressor of breast cancer metastasis by promoting degradation of SNAI2 and relieving its transcriptional repression of YAP.