The protein Deleted in Breast Cancer-1 is a regulator of several transcription factors and epigenetic regulators, including HDAC3, Rev-erb-alpha, PARP1 and SIRT1. It is well known that DBC1 regulates its targets, including SIRT1, by protein-protein interaction. However, little is known about how DBC1 biological activity is regulated. In this work, we show that in quiescent cells DBC1 is proteolytically cleaved, producing a protein (DN-DBC1) that misses the S1-like domain and no longer binds to SIRT1. DN-DBC1 is also found in vivo in mouse and human tissues. Interestingly, DN-DBC1 is cleared once quiescent cells re-enter to the cell cycle. Using a model of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, we found that DN-DBC1 is down-regulated in vivo during regeneration. In fact, WT mice show a decrease in SIRT1 activity during liver regeneration, coincidentally with DN-DBC1 downregulation and the appearance of full length DBC1. This effect on SIRT1 activity was not observed in DBC1 KO mice. Finally, we found that DBC1 KO mice have altered cell cycle progression and liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, suggesting that DBC1/DN-DBC1 transitions play a role in normal cell cycle progression in vivo after cells leave quiescence. We propose that quiescent cells express DN-DBC1, which either replaces or coexist with the full-length protein, and that restoring of DBC1 is required for normal cell cycle progression in vitro and in vivo. Our results describe for the first time in vivo a naturally occurring form of DBC1, which does not bind SIRT1 and is dynamically regulated, thus contributing to redefine the knowledge about its function.
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