The Nedd4-binding partner 1 (N4BP1) protein is an inhibitor of the E3 ligase Itch

Andrew Oberst, Martina Malatesta, Rami I. Aqeilan, Mario Rossi, Paolo Salomoni, Rodolfo Murillas, Prashant Sharma, Michael R. Kuehn, Moshe Oren, Carlo M. Croce*, Francesca Bernassola, Gerry Melino

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


Nedd4-binding partner-1 (N4BP1) has been identified as a protein interactor and a substrate of the homologous to E6AP C terminus (HECT) domain-containing E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase (E3), Nedd4. Here, we describe a previously unrecognized functional interaction between N4BP1 and Itch, a Nedd4 structurally related E3, which contains four WW domains, conferring substrate-binding activity. We show that N4BP1 association with the second WW domain (WW2) of Itch interferes with E3 binding to its substrates. In particular, we found that N4BP1 and p73α, a target of Itch-mediated ubiquitin/proteasome proteolysis, share the same binding site. By competing with p73α for binding to the WW2 domain, N4BP1 reduces the ability of Itch to recruit and ubiquitylate p73α and inhibits Itch autoubiquitylation activity both in in vitro and in vivo ubiquitylation assays. Similarly, both c-Jun and p63 polyubiquitylation by Itch are inhibited by N4BP1. As a consequence, genetic and RNAi knockdown of N4BP1 diminish the steady-state protein levels and significantly impair the transcriptional activity of Itch substrates. Notably, stress-induced induction of c-Jun was impaired in N4BP1-/- cells. These results demonstrate that N4BP1 functions as a negative regulator of Itch. In addition, because inhibition of Itch by N4BP1 results in the stabilization of crucial cell death regulators such as p73α and c-Jun, it is conceivable that N4BP1 may have a role in regulating tumor progression and the response of cancer cells to chemotherapy.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)11280-11285
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Protein-protein interaction
  • Transcription
  • Ubiquitylation
  • WW domain
  • p53


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