It is well-known that human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is critical for breast cancer (BC) development and progression. Several studies have revealed the role of the ubiquitin/proteasome system (UPS) in cancer. In this study, we investigated the expression level of Proteasome 26S subunit, non-ATPase 3 (PSMD3) in BC using BC cell lines, human BC tissue samples, Oncomine, and TCGA databases and studied the PSMD3-HER2 protein interaction. PSMD3 was upregulated in BC, particularly in the HER2+ subtype. PSMD3 immunostaining was detected in the cytoplasm and nucleus of BC tumor tissues. Strong interaction between PSMD3 and HER2 at the protein level was observed. Knockdown of PSMD3 significantly impaired the stability of HER2, inhibited BC cell proliferation and colony formation, and induced cell apoptosis. Ubiquitination process was strongly enhanced after knockdown of PSMD3 in association with decreased HER2 level. Accumulation and Localization of LAMP-1 in the cell membrane with decreased HER2 immunostaining was observed after knockdown of PSMD3. High expression level of PSMD3 was associated with HER2 expression (p < 0.001), tumor size (p < 0.001), and clinical stage (p = 0.036). High expression level of PSMD3 predicted a short overall survival (OS), particularly for HER2+. Overall, we provide a novel function for PSMD3 in stabilizing HER2 from degradation in HER2+ BC, which suggests that PSMD3 is a novel target for HER2+ BC.
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