Disruption of the PRKCD–FBXO25–HAX-1 axis attenuates the apoptotic response and drives lymphomagenesis
We searched for genetic alterations in human B cell lymphoma that affect the ubiquitin-proteasome system. This approach identified FBXO25 within a minimal common region of frequent deletion in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). FBXO25 encodes an orphan F-box protein that determines the substrate specificity of the SCF (SKP1–CUL1–F-box)FBXO25 ubiquitin ligase complex. An unbiased screen uncovered the prosurvival protein HCLS1-associated protein X-1 (HAX-1) as the bona fide substrate of FBXO25 that is targeted after apoptotic stresses. Protein kinase Cδ (PRKCD) initiates this process by phosphorylating FBXO25 and HAX-1, thereby spatially directing nuclear FBXO25 to mitochondrial HAX-1. Our analyses in primary human MCL identify monoallelic loss of FBXO25 and stabilizing HAX1 phosphodegron mutations. Accordingly, FBXO25 re-expression in FBXO25-deleted MCL cells promotes cell death, whereas expression of the HAX-1 phosphodegron mutant inhibits apoptosis. In addition, knockdown of FBXO25 significantly accelerated lymphoma development in Eμ-Myc mice and in a human MCL xenotransplant model. Together we identify a PRKCD-dependent proapoptotic mechanism controlling HAX-1 stability, and we propose that FBXO25 functions as a haploinsufficient tumor suppressor and that HAX1 is a proto-oncogene in MCL.