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COPI vesicle formation and N-myristoylation are targetable vulnerabilities of senescent cells.

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-12-14, 12:23 authored by Domhnall McHugh, Bin Sun, Carmen Gutierrez-Muñoz, Fernanda Hernández-González, Massimiliano Mellone, Romain Guiho, Imanol Duran, Joaquim Pombo, Federico Pietrocola, Jodie Birch, Wouter W Kallemeijn, Sanjay Khadayate, Gopuraja Dharmalingam, Santiago Vernia, Edward W Tate, Juan Pedro Martínez-Barbera, Dominic J Withers, Gareth J Thomas, Manuel Serrano, Jesús Gil
Drugs that selectively kill senescent cells (senolytics) improve the outcomes of cancer, fibrosis and age-related diseases. Despite their potential, our knowledge of the molecular pathways that affect the survival of senescent cells is limited. To discover senolytic targets, we performed RNAi screens and identified coatomer complex I (COPI) vesicle formation as a liability of senescent cells. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of COPI results in Golgi dispersal, dysfunctional autophagy, and unfolded protein response-dependent apoptosis of senescent cells, and knockdown of COPI subunits improves the outcomes of cancer and fibrosis in mouse models. Drugs targeting COPI have poor pharmacological properties, but we find that N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors (NMTi) phenocopy COPI inhibition and are potent senolytics. NMTi selectively eliminated senescent cells and improved outcomes in models of cancer and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Our results suggest that senescent cells rely on a hyperactive secretory apparatus and that inhibiting trafficking kills senescent cells with the potential to treat various senescence-associated diseases.


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