Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Genes and Development

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Mong-Hong Lee, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Randy J. Legerski, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Pierre D. McCrea, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lei Li, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Hui-Kuan Lin, Ph.D.


Mammalian constitutive photomorphogenic 1 (COP1), a p53 E3 ubiquitin ligase, is a key negative regulator for p53. DNA damage leads to the translocation of COP1 to the cytoplasm, but the underlying mechanism remains unknown. We discovered that 14-3-3σ controlled COP1 subcellular localization and protein stability. Investigation of the underlying mechanism suggested that, upon DNA damage, 14-3-3σ bound to phosphorylated COP1 at S387, resulting in COP1 translocation to the cytoplasm and cytoplasmic COP1 ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation. 14-3-3σ targeted COP1 for degradation to prevent COP1-mediated p53 degradation, p53 ubiquitination, and p53 transcription repression. COP1 expression promoted cell proliferation, cell transformation, and tumor progression, attesting to its role in cancer promotion. 14-3-3σ negatively regulated COP1 function and prevented tumor growth in cancer xenografts. COP1 protein levels were inversely correlated with 14-3-3σ protein levels in human breast and pancreatic cancer specimens. Together, these results define a novel, detailed mechanism for the posttranslational regulation of COP1 upon DNA damage and provide a mechanistic explanation of the correlation of COP1 overexpression with 14-3-3σ downregulation during tumorigenesis.


COP1, p53, 14-3-3sigma, ubiquitination

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