Monoubiquitylation is a principal mechanism driving nuclear translocation of the protein PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten). In this study, we describe a novel mechanism wherein the protein CHIP (C-terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein) mediates PTEN monoubiquitylation, leading to its nuclear import. Western blot analysis revealed a rise in both nuclear and total cellular PTEN levels under monoubiquitylation-promoting conditions, an effect that was abrogated by silencing CHIP expression. We established time-point kinetics of CHIP-mediated nuclear translocation of PTEN using immunocytochemistry and identified a role of karyopherin α1 (KPNA1) in facilitating nuclear transport of monoubiquitylated PTEN. We further established a direct interaction between CHIP and PTEN inside the nucleus, with CHIP participating in either polyubiquitylation or monoubiquitylation of nuclear PTEN. Finally, we showed that oxidative stress enhanced CHIP-mediated nuclear import of PTEN, which resulted in increased apoptosis, and decreased cell viability and proliferation, whereas CHIP knockdown counteracted these effects. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report elucidating non-canonical roles for CHIP on PTEN, which we establish here as a nuclear interacting partner of CHIP.

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