Subunits from the chromatin remodelers mammalian SWItch/Sucrose Non-Fermentable (mSWI/SNF) are mutated, deleted, or amplified in more than 40% of cancers. Understanding their functions in normal cells and the consequences of cancerous alterations will provide insight into developing new targeted therapies. Here we examined whether mSWI/SNF mutations increase cellular sensitivity to specific drugs. Taking advantage of the DepMap studies, we demonstrate that cancer cells harboring mutations of specific mSWI/SNF subunits exhibit a genetic dependency on translation factors and are sensitive to translation pathway inhibitors. Furthermore, mSWI/SNF subunits were present in the cytoplasm and interacted with the translation initiation machinery, and short-term inhibition and depletion of specific subunits decreased global translation, implicating a direct role for these factors in translation. Depletion of specific mSWI/SNF subunits also increased sensitivity to mTOR-PI3K inhibitors. In patient-derived breast cancer samples, mSWI/SNF subunits expression in both the nucleus and the cytoplasm was substantially altered. In conclusion, an unexpected cytoplasmic role for mSWI/SNF complexes in translation suggests potential new therapeutic opportunities for patients afflicted by cancers demonstrating alterations in their subunits.
Significance: This work establishes direct functions for mSWI/SNF in translation and demonstrates that alterations in mSWI/SNF confer a therapeutic vulnerability to translation pathway inhibitors in cancer cells.
©2022 The Authors; Published by the American Association for Cancer Research.