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AbstractThe deubiquitylating enzyme USP18 is a major negative regulator of the interferon (IFN) signalling cascade. IFN pathways contribute to resistance to conventional chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy and are often deregulated in cancer. USP18 is the predominant human protease that cleaves interferon-stimulated gene ISG15, a ubiquitin-like protein tightly regulated in the context of innate immunity, from its modified substrate proteins in vivo. In this study, using advanced proteomic techniques, we have expanded the USP18-dependent ISGylome and proteome in a chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML)-derived cell line (HAP1) treated with type I IFN. Novel ISGylation targets were characterised that modulate the sensing of innate ligands, antigen presentation and secretion of cytokines. Consequently, CML USP18-deficient cells are more antigenic, driving increased activation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and are more susceptible to irradiation. Our results suggest USP18 as a pharmacological target in cancer immunotherapy and radiotherapy.

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