Cancer Res Treat. 2023 Jan 4. doi: 10.4143/crt.2022.1414. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Exogenous epidermal growth factor (EGF) causes apoptosis in EGF receptor (EGFR)-overexpressing cell lines. The apoptosis-inducing factors could be a therapeutic target. We aimed to determine the mechanism of EGF-induced apoptosis using a genome-wide clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-based knockout screen.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two-vector system of the human genome-scale CRISPR knockout library v2 was used to target 19,050 genes using 123,411 single guide RNAs (sgRNAs). Recombinant human EGF (100 nM) or distilled water four times was administered to the experimental and control groups, respectively. The read counts of each sgRNA obtained from next-generation sequencing were analyzed using the edgeR algorithm. We used another EGFR-overexpressing cell line (A549) and short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) targeting five EGF-resistance genes for validation. DUSP1 expression in A431, A549, and HEK293FT cells was calculated using reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
RESULTS: We found 77 enriched and 189 depleted genes in the experimental group using the CRISPR-based knockout screen and identified the top five EGF-resistance genes: DDX20, LHFP, REPS1, DUSP1, and KRTAP10-12. Transfecting shRNAs targeting these genes into A549 cells significantly increased the surviving fractions after EGF treatment, compared with those observed in the control shRNA-transfected cells. The expression ratio of DUSP1 (inhibits ERK signaling) increased in A431 and A549 cells after EGF treatment. However, DUSP1 expression remained unchanged in HEK293FT cells after EGF treatment.
CONCLUSION: The CRISPR-based knockout screen revealed 266 genes possibly responsible for EGF-induced apoptosis. DUSP1 might be a critical component of EGF-induced apoptosis and a novel target for EGFR-overexpressing cancers.