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Spliceosome-targeted therapies trigger an antiviral immune response in triple-negative breast cancer.

Cell (2021-01-16)
Elizabeth A Bowling, Jarey H Wang, Fade Gong, William Wu, Nicholas J Neill, Ik Sun Kim, Siddhartha Tyagi, Mayra Orellana, Sarah J Kurley, Rocio Dominguez-Vidaña, Hsiang-Ching Chung, Tiffany Y-T Hsu, Julien Dubrulle, Alexander B Saltzman, Heyuan Li, Jitendra K Meena, Gino M Canlas, Srinivas Chamakuri, Swarnima Singh, Lukas M Simon, Calla M Olson, Lacey E Dobrolecki, Michael T Lewis, Bing Zhang, Ido Golding, Jeffrey M Rosen, Damian W Young, Anna Malovannaya, Fabio Stossi, George Miles, Matthew J Ellis, Lihua Yu, Silvia Buonamici, Charles Y Lin, Kristen L Karlin, Xiang H-F Zhang, Thomas F Westbrook
ABSTRACT

Many oncogenic insults deregulate RNA splicing, often leading to hypersensitivity of tumors to spliceosome-targeted therapies (STTs). However, the mechanisms by which STTs selectively kill cancers remain largely unknown. Herein, we discover that mis-spliced RNA itself is a molecular trigger for tumor killing through viral mimicry. In MYC-driven triple-negative breast cancer, STTs cause widespread cytoplasmic accumulation of mis-spliced mRNAs, many of which form double-stranded structures. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA)-binding proteins recognize these endogenous dsRNAs, triggering antiviral signaling and extrinsic apoptosis. In immune-competent models of breast cancer, STTs cause tumor cell-intrinsic antiviral signaling, downstream adaptive immune signaling, and tumor cell death. Furthermore, RNA mis-splicing in human breast cancers correlates with innate and adaptive immune signatures, especially in MYC-amplified tumors that are typically immune cold. These findings indicate that dsRNA-sensing pathways respond to global aberrations of RNA splicing in cancer and provoke the hypothesis that STTs may provide unexplored strategies to activate anti-tumor immune pathways.

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