Article ID: EJ19-0239
Cushing’s disease is primarily caused by autonomic hypersecretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) from a pituitary adenoma. In Cushing’s disease, mutations in the ubiquitin-specific protease 8 (USP8) have been detected. These mutations are associated with hyperactivation of USP8 that prevent epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) degradation. This leads to increased EGFR stability and results in the maintenance of EGFR signaling in Cushing’s disease. USP8 inhibitors can suppress the growth of various tumors. In this study, the effects of a potent USP8 inhibitor, DUBs-IN-2, on ACTH production and cell proliferation were examined in mouse corticotroph tumor (AtT-20) cells. Proopiomelanocortin (Pomc) mRNA levels and ACTH levels were decreased in AtT-20 cells by DUBs-IN-2. Further, cell proliferation was inhibited, and apoptosis was induced by DUBs-IN-2. Transcript levels of pituitary tumor-transforming gene 1 (Pttg1), a pituitary tumor growth marker, were increased; and transcript levels of stress response growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible 45 (Gadd45β) and Cdk5 and ABL enzyme substrate 1 (Cables1) mRNA levels were increased in response to the drug. Gadd45β or Cables1 knockdown partially inhibited the DUBs-IN-2-induced decrease in cell proliferation, but not Pomc mRNA levels. Both GADD45β and CABLES1 may be responsible, at least in part, for the USP8-induced suppression of corticotroph tumor cell proliferation. USP-8 may be a new treatment target in Cushing’s disease.