The CHFR protein comprises fork head associated- (FHA) and RING-finger (RF) domain and is frequently down regulated in human colon and gastric cancers up to 50% The loss of CHFR mRNA expression is a consequence of promoter methylation, suggesting a tumor suppressor role for this gene in gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. In terms of the biological functions of CHFR, it has been shown to activate cell cycle checkpoint when cells are treated with microtubule depolymerizing agents. Furthermore, CHFR was reported to have E3 ligase activity and promote ubiquitination and degradation of oncogenic proteins such as Aurora A and polo-like kinase 1. However, molecular pathways involved in the tumor suppressive function of CHFR are not yet clear since the two established roles of this protein are likely to inhibit cell growth. In this study, we have identified that the FHA domain, of CHFR protein is critical for growth suppressive properties, whereas the RF and cysteine rich domains (Cys) are not required for this function. In contrast, the RF and Cys domains are essential for E3 ligase activity of CHFR. By the use of a cell cycle checkpoint assay, we also confirmed that the FHA domain of CHFR Plays an important role in initiating a cell cycle arrest at G2/M, indicating a functional link exists between the anti-proliferative effects and checkpoint function of this tumor suppressor protein via this domain. Collectively, our data show that the checkpoint function of the FHA domain of CHFR is a core component of anti-proliferative properties against the gastrointestinal carcinogenesis.
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