Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Cancer Biology

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

Dr. Nicholas J. Donato

Committee Member

Dr. Stephanie S. Watowich

Committee Member

Dr. Warren S. Liao

Committee Member

Dr. Bryant G. Darnay

Committee Member

Dr. Richard J. Ford


The Jak-stat pathway is critical for cellular proliferation and is commonly found to be deregulated in many solid tumors as well as hematological malignancies. Such findings have spurred the development of novel therapeutic agents that specifically inhibit Jak2 kinase, thereby suppressing tumor cell growth. Tyrphostin AG490, the first described Jak2 inhibitor, displays poor pharmacology and requires high concentrations for anti-tumor activities. Our research group screened a small library of AG490 structural analogues and identified WP1130 as a potent inhibitor of Jak2 signaling. However, unlike AG490, WP1130 did not directly inhibit Jak2 kinase activity. Our results show that WP1130 induces rapid ubiquitination and subsequent re-localization of Jak2 into signaling incompetent aggresomes. In addition to Jak2, WP1130 also induces accumulation of other ubiquitinated proteins without inhibiting 20S proteasome activity. Further analysis of the mechanism of action of WP1130 revealed that WP1130 acts as a partly selective DUB inhibitor. It specifically inhibits the deubiquitinase activity of USP9x, USP5, USP14 and UCH37. WP1130 mediated inhibition of tumor-associated DUBs resulted in down-regulation of anti-apoptotic and up-regulation of pro-apoptotic proteins, such as MCL-1 and p53 respectively. Our results demonstrate that chemical modification of a previously described Jak2 inhibitor results in the unexpected discovery of a novel compound which acts as a DUB inhibitor, suppressing Jak-Stat signaling by a novel mechanism.


Ubiquitination, Deubiquitination, Small molecule inhibitor, Jak-Stat pathway, Deubiquitinating Enzymes