AATF suppresses apoptosis, promotes proliferation and is critical for Kras-driven lung cancer

Oncogene. 2018 Mar;37(11):1503-1518. doi: 10.1038/s41388-017-0054-6. Epub 2018 Jan 11.


A fundamental principle in malignant tranformation is the ability of cancer cells to escape the naturally occurring cell-intrinsic responses to DNA damage. Tumors progress despite the accumulation of DNA lesions. However, the underlying mechanisms of this tolerance to genotoxic stress are still poorly characterized. Here, we show that replication stress occurs in Kras-driven murine lung adenocarcinomas, as well as in proliferating murine embryonic and adult tissues. We identify the transcriptional regulator AATF/CHE-1 as a key molecule to sustain proliferative tissues and tumor progression in parts by inhibiting p53-driven apoptosis in vivo. In an autochthonous Kras-driven lung adenocarcinoma model, deletion of Aatf delayed lung cancer formation predominantly in a p53-dependent manner. Moreover, targeting Aatf in existing tumors through a dual recombinase strategy caused a halt in tumor progression. Taken together, these data suggest that AATF may serve as a drug target to treat KRAS-driven malignancies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / genetics*
  • Adenocarcinoma of Lung / pathology
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / genetics*
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / physiology*
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / physiology


  • AATF protein, human
  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • KRAS protein, human
  • Repressor Proteins
  • TP53 protein, human
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)