Plasticity of ether lipids promotes ferroptosis susceptibility and evasion

Initiation of Ferroptosis by Inhibition of Xc-system or GPX4 Activity

Lu et al. (2018) Front Pharmacol. CC BY 4.0

Zou Y, Henry WS, Ricq EL, Graham ET, Phadnis VV, Maretich P, Paradkar S, Boehnke N, Deik AA, Reinhardt F, Eaton JK, Ferguson B, Wang W, Fairman J, Keys HR, Dančík V, Clish CB, Clemons PA, Hammond PT, Boyer LA, Weinberg RA, Schreiber SL.


September 01, 2020

Ferroptosis-an iron-dependent, non-apoptotic cell death process-is involved in various degenerative diseases and represents a targetable susceptibility in certain cancers. The ferroptosis-susceptible cell state can either pre-exist in cells that arise from certain lineages or be acquired during cell-state transitions. However, precisely how susceptibility to ferroptosis is dynamically regulated remains poorly understood. Here we use genome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 suppressor screens to identify the oxidative organelles peroxisomes as critical contributors to ferroptosis sensitivity in human renal and ovarian carcinoma cells. Using lipidomic profiling we show that peroxisomes contribute to ferroptosis by synthesizing polyunsaturated ether phospholipids (PUFA-ePLs), which act as substrates for lipid peroxidation that, in turn, results in the induction of ferroptosis. Carcinoma cells that are initially sensitive to ferroptosis can switch to a ferroptosis-resistant state in vivo in mice, which is associated with extensive downregulation of PUFA-ePLs. We further find that the pro-ferroptotic role of PUFA-ePLs can be extended beyond neoplastic cells to other cell types, including neurons and cardiomyocytes. Together, our work reveals roles for the peroxisome-ether-phospholipid axis in driving susceptibility to and evasion from ferroptosis, highlights PUFA-ePL as a distinct functional lipid class that is dynamically regulated during cell-state transitions, and suggests multiple regulatory nodes for therapeutic interventions in diseases that involve ferroptosis.

Last updated: October 22, 2020