Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Precise regulation of Type I interferon signaling is crucial for combating infection and cancer while avoiding autoimmunity. Type I interferon signaling is negatively regulated by USP18. USP18 cleaves ISG15, an interferon-induced ubiquitin-like modification, via its canonical catalytic function, and inhibits Type I interferon receptor activity through its scaffold role. USP18 loss-of-function dramatically impacts immune regulation, pathogen susceptibility, and tumor growth. However, prior studies have reached conflicting conclusions regarding the relative importance of catalytic versus scaffold function. Here, we develop biochemical and cellular methods to systematically define the physiological role of USP18. By comparing a patient-derived mutation impairing scaffold function (I60N) to a mutation disrupting catalytic activity (C64S), we demonstrate that scaffold function is critical for cancer cell vulnerability to Type I interferon. Surprisingly, we discovered that human USP18 exhibits minimal catalytic activity, in stark contrast to mouse USP18. These findings resolve human USP18's mechanism-of-action and enable USP18-targeted therapeutics.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date