Exploiting the Endogenous Ubiquitin Proteasome System in Targeted Cancer Treatment

Noa Hauser, Joud Hirbawi, Meshi Saban Golub, Samar Zabit, Michal Lichtenstein, Haya Lorberboum-Galski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To overcome the lack of specificity of cancer therapeutics and thus create a more potent and effective treatment, we developed a novel chimeric protein, IL2-Smurf2. Here, we describe the production of this chimeric IL2-Smurf2 protein and its variants, with inactive or over-active killing components. Using Western blots, we demonstrated the chimeric protein’s ability to specifically enter target cells alone. After entering the cells, the protein showed biological activity, causing cell death that was not seen with an inactive variant, and that was shown to be apoptotic. The chimeric protein also proved to be active as an E3 ligase, as demonstrated by testing total ubiquitination levels along with targeted ubiquitination for degradation. Finally, we tested IL2-Smurf2 and its variants in an in vivo mouse model of leukemia and demonstrated its potential as a drug for the targeted treatment of cancer cells. In the course of this work, we established for the first time the feasibility of the use of Smurf2 as a killing component in chimeric targeting proteins. Utilizing the IL2 cytokine to target cells overexpressing IL-2R and Smurf2 to cause protein degradation, we were able to produce a chimeric protein with dual functionality which causes targeted cell death.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number256
Issue number1
StatePublished - 30 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • HECT E3 ligase
  • IL-2
  • IL-2R
  • Smurf2
  • chimeric proteins
  • targeted therapy


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