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USP11 modulates mitotic progression and senescence by regulating the p53-p21 axis through MDM2 deubiquitination.

USP11 is overexpressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) and breast cancer tissues compared to normal tissues, suggesting a role in promoting cell proliferation and inhibiting cell death. In this study, we observed that depleting USP11 inhibits cell proliferation and delays cell cycle progression. This depletion leads to increased p53 protein levels due to an extended half-life, resulting in elevated p21 mRNA levels in a p53-dependent manner. The rise in p53 protein upon USP11 depletion is linked to a reduced half-life of MDM2, a known E3 ligase for p53, via enhanced polyubiquitination of MDM2. These findings indicate that USP11 might act as a deubiquitinase for MDM2, regulating the MDM2-p53-p21 axis. Additionally, USP11 depletion promotes the induction of senescent cells in a manner dependent on its deubiquitinase activity. Our findings provide insights into the physiological significance of high USP11 expression in primary tumors and its reduction in senescent cells, highlighting its potential as a therapeutic target.

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