Transcription factor activating protein 4 is synthetically lethal and a master regulator of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma.

Boboila S, Lopez G, Yu J, Banerjee D, Kadenhe-Chiweshe A, Connolly EP, Kandel JJ, Rajbhandari P, Silva JM, Califano A, Yamashiro DJ.


June 07, 2018

Despite the identification of MYCN amplification as an adverse prognostic marker in neuroblastoma, MYCN inhibitors have yet to be developed. Here, by integrating evidence from a whole-genome shRNA library screen and the computational inference of master regulator proteins, we identify transcription factor activating protein 4 (TFAP4) as a critical effector of MYCN amplification in neuroblastoma, providing a novel synthetic lethal target. We demonstrate that TFAP4 is a direct target of MYCN in neuroblastoma cells, and that its expression and activity strongly negatively correlate with neuroblastoma patient survival. Silencing TFAP4 selectively inhibits MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cell growth both in vitro and in vivo, in xenograft mouse models. Mechanistically, silencing TFAP4 induces neuroblastoma differentiation, as evidenced by increased neurite outgrowth and upregulation of neuronal markers. Taken together, our results demonstrate that TFAP4 is a key regulator of MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma and may represent a valuable novel therapeutic target.

Last updated: June 28, 2020