Several emerging therapies kill cancer cells primarily by inducing necrosis. As necrosis activates immune cells, potentially, uncovering the molecular drivers of anticancer therapy-induced necrosis could reveal approaches for enhancing immunotherapy efficacy. To identify necrosis-associated genes, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 screen with negative selection against necrosis-inducing preclinical agents BHPI and conducted follow-on experiments with ErSO. The screen identified transient receptor potential melastatin member 4 (TRPM4), a calcium-activated, ATP-inhibited, sodium-selective plasma membrane channel. Cancer cells selected for resistance to BHPI and ErSO exhibited robust TRPM4 downregulation, and TRPM4 reexpression restored sensitivity to ErSO. Notably, TRPM4 knockout (TKO) abolished ErSO-induced regression of breast tumors in mice. Supporting a broad role for TRPM4 in necrosis, knockout of TRPM4 reversed cell death induced by four additional diverse necrosis-inducing cancer therapies. ErSO induced anticipatory unfolded protein response (a-UPR) hyperactivation, long-term necrotic cell death, and release of damage-associated molecular patterns that activated macrophages and increased monocyte migration, all of which was abolished by TKO. Furthermore, loss of TRPM4 suppressed the ErSO-induced increase in cell volume and depletion of ATP. These data suggest that ErSO triggers initial activation of the a-UPR but that it is TRPM4-mediated sodium influx and cell swelling, resulting in osmotic stress, which sustains and propagates lethal a-UPR hyperactivation. Thus, TRPM4 plays a pivotal role in sustaining lethal a-UPR hyperactivation that mediates the anticancer activity of diverse necrosis-inducing therapies. SIGNIFICANCE: A genome-wide CRISPR screen reveals a pivotal role for TRPM4 in cell death and immune activation following treatment with diverse necrosis-inducing anticancer therapies, which could facilitate development of necrosis-based cancer immunotherapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research