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Cancer Res. 2007 May 1;67(9):4390-8.

Identification of Ras-related nuclear protein, targeting protein for xenopus kinesin-like protein 2, and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 as promising cancer targets from an RNAi-based screen.

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Global Pharmaceutical Research and Development, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois 60064, USA.


To identify new candidate cancer drug targets, we used RNAi as a tool to functionally evaluate genes that play a role in maintaining human tumor cell survival. We screened a small interfering RNA (siRNA) library directed against approximately 3,700 individual genes to assess the ability of siRNAs to induce cell death in an in vitro cell cytotoxicity assay. We found that siRNAs specifically targeting ras-related nuclear protein (Ran), targeting protein for Xenopus kinesin-like protein 2 (TPX2), and stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1), significantly reduced the survival of multiple human tumor cell lines. Further target validation studies revealed that treatment with Ran and TPX2 siRNAs differentially reduced the survival of activated K-Ras-transformed cells compared with their normal isogenic counterparts in which the mutant K-Ras gene had been disrupted (DKS-8). Knockdown of Ran and TPX2 in activated mutant K-Ras cells selectively induced S-phase arrest or transient G(2)-M arrest phenotypes, respectively, that preceded apoptotic cell death. Given our observations that Ran and TPX2 depletion preferentially reduces the survival of activated K-Ras-transformed cells, these two proteins may serve as useful anticancer targets in tumors expressing the activated K-Ras oncogene.

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