Targeting VPS72 inhibits ACTL6A/MYC axis activity in HCC progression

Hepatology. 2023 Jan 13. doi: 10.1097/HEP.0000000000000268. Online ahead of print.


Background and aims: HCC is a highly heterogeneous disease that is caused largely by genomic copy number variations. Herein, the mechanistic and therapeutically targeted role of vacuolar protein sorting 72 homologue (VPS72), a novel copy number variation cis-driven gained gene identified by genome-wide copy number variation and transcriptome analyses in HCC, is not well understood.

Approach and results: First, overexpression of VPS72 enhanced the initiation and progression of HCC in vitro and in vivo . Mechanistically, VPS72 interacted with the oncoproteins MYC and actin-like 6A (ACTL6A) and promoted the formation of the ACTL6A/MYC complex. Furthermore, ACTL6A regulated VPS72 protein stability by weakening the interaction between tripartite motif containing 21 (TRIM21) and VPS72. Thus, the interaction between VPS72 and ACTL6A enhanced the affinity of MYC for its target gene promoters and promoted their transcription, thereby contributing to HCC progression, which was inhibited by adeno-associated virus serotype 8 (AAV8)-mediated short hairpin RNA (shRNA) against VPS72.

Conclusions: This study reveals the molecular mechanism of ACTL6A/VPS72/MYC in HCC, providing a theoretical basis and therapeutic target for this malignancy.