Public-private partnership grant awarded by Health-Holland: Towards new drug therapies by a better understanding of ubiquitin metalloprotease activity.


We are happy to announce that UbiQ and Prof Titia Sixma (Netherlands Cancer Institute, Oncode Institute) were recently awarded a new public-private partnership grant by Health-Holland, which is part of the Dutch Life Sciences & Health (LSH) sector. This grant allows us to continue our work on ubiquitin metalloproteases initiated in 2019. Here research tools developed by Farid El Oualid and targeted specifically at ubiquitin metalloproteases will be validated and studied with colleagues at the Netherlands Cancer Institute. To date, reagents to study the family of ubiquitin metalloproteases have been almost non-existent. The envisioned research tools hold great potential for future drug development aimed at ubiquitin metalloproteases.


Metallodubi – tools to study ubiquitin metalloprotease activity
The decoration of proteins with the small protein ubiquitin is one of the major processes by which Nature controls almost all cellular processes. This process of ubiquitination is regulated by nearly hundred different ubiquitin proteases in the human genome by removal of ubiquitin from its targets. An important family of ubiquitin proteases are the so called zinc-dependent metalloproteases. Because these ubiquitin metalloproteases regulate protein degradation, epigenetics and DNA repair, they have potential as drug targets. In recent years it has become clear that the (mal)function of ubiquitin metalloproteases is linked to various diseases. For example, the expression of the ubiquitin metalloprotease MYSM1 is associated with tumor progression in colorectal cancer, making it a potential biomarker for clinical prognosis. The abnormal expression of the ubiquitin metalloprotease BRCC36 (as part of the well-known BRCA1 complex) is associated with breast and nasopharyngeal carcinomas, making BRCC36 (activity) a promising prognostic marker and potential target in the therapies for these cancer types. An exciting finding is that ubiquitin metalloproteases also regulate T cell biology and thus might be of importance in immunotherapy development.

In this project, The Netherlands Cancer Institute (an Oncode Institute) and UbiQ Bio B.V. (short name UbiQ) form a highly complementary public-private partnership by combining expertise in protease research and ubiquitin research tool development.