Ferroptosis is a form of regulated necrotic cell death controlled by glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPX4). At present, mechanisms that could predict sensitivity and/or resistance and that may be exploited to modulate ferroptosis are needed. We applied two independent approaches—a genome-wide CRISPR-based genetic screen and microarray analysis of ferroptosis-resistant cell lines—to uncover acyl-CoA synthetase long-chain family member 4 (ACSL4) as an essential component for ferroptosis execution. Specifically, Gpx4–Acsl4 double-knockout cells showed marked resistance to ferroptosis. Mechanistically, ACSL4 enriched cellular membranes with long polyunsaturated ω6 fatty acids. Moreover, ACSL4 was preferentially expressed in a panel of basal-like breast cancer cell lines and predicted their sensitivity to ferroptosis. Pharmacological targeting of ACSL4 with thiazolidinediones, a class of antidiabetic compound, ameliorated tissue demise in a mouse model of ferroptosis, suggesting that ACSL4 inhibition is a viable therapeutic approach to preventing ferroptosis-related diseases.
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We would like to thank B.R. Stockwell (Columbia University, New York, USA) for providing RSL3 and F. Ursini and M. Maiorino (Universitàdegli Studi di Padova, Padua, Italy) for phosphatidylcholine hydroperoxide. We would also like to thank A. Berns (the Netherlands Cancer Institute) for providing the ROSA26-CreERT2 mouse line. SK-BR-3 cells were a gift from G. Multhoff (Technical University Munich). This work was in part supported by grants from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) CO 291/2-3 and CO 291/5-1 to M.C., a fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to S.K., the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) RGP0013 to M.C. and V.E.K., the German Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) through the European E-Rare Network for mitochondrial disorders GENOMIT (01GM1603) to H.P., the National Institute of Health (NIH) (P01HL114453, U19AI068021, NS076511, NS061817, ES020693) to V.E.K. and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs (m4 Award) to J.A.S. and M.C.
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Supplementary Results and Supplementary Figures 1–6. (PDF 13257 kb)
Statistical analysis of expression profiling of ferroptosis-resistant cells. (XLSX 38949 kb)
Single gRNA counts after RSL3 and erastin selections. (XLSX 8139 kb)
Gene list of expression profiling of ferroptosis-resistant cells. (XLSX 9555 kb)
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Doll, S., Proneth, B., Tyurina, Y. et al. ACSL4 dictates ferroptosis sensitivity by shaping cellular lipid composition. Nat Chem Biol 13, 91–98 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.2239
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