Deubiquitination of Chfr, a checkpoint protein, by USP7/HAUSP regulates its stability and activity.
Chfr, a mitotic stress checkpoint, plays an important role in cell cycle progression, tumor suppression and the processes that require the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity mediated by the RING finger domain. Chfr stimulates the formation of polyubiquitin chains by ub-conjugating enzymes, and induces the proteasome-dependent degradation of a number of cellular proteins including Plk1 and Aurora A. In this study, we identified USP7 (also known as HAUSP), which is a member of a family of proteins that cleave polyubiquitin chains and/or ubiquitin precursors, as an interacting protein with Chfr by immunoaffinity purification and mass spectrometry, and their interaction greatly increases the stability of Chfr. In fact, USP7 can remove ubiquitin moiety from the autoubiquitinated Chfr both in vivo and in vitro, which results in the accumulation of Chfr in the cell. Thus, our finding suggests that USP7-mediated deubiquitination of Chfr leads to its accumulation, which might be a key regulatory step for Chfr activation and that USP7 may play an important role in the regulation of Chfr-mediated cellular processes including cell cycle progression and tumor suppression.