Sustained activation of EGFR-ERK1/2 signaling limits the response to tigecycline-induced mitochondrial respiratory deficiency in liver cancer.



This work was funded by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (82073039,82222047, 81920108025), Program of Shanghai Academic/Technology Research Leader (22XD1423100), Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Project (20JC1411100), 111 Project (B21024), Innovative Research Team of High-level Local Universities in Shanghai (SHSMU-ZDCX20212700, SHSMU-ZDCX20210802) and Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine (YG2019GD01).


Identification of tumor dependencies is important for developing therapeutic strategies for liver cancer.


A genome-wide CRISPR screen was performed for finding critical vulnerabilities in liver cancer cells. Compounds screen, RNA sequencing, and human phospho-receptor tyrosine kinase arrays were applied to explore mechanisms and search for synergistic drugs.


We identified mitochondrial translation-related genes associated with proliferation for liver cancer cells. Tigecycline induced deficiency of respiratory chain by disturbing mitochondrial translation process and showed therapeutic potential in liver cancer. For liver cancer cells extremely insensitive to tigecycline, a compounds screen was applied to identify MEK inhibitors as synergistic drugs to tigecycline-insensitive liver cancer cells. Mechanistically, sustained activation of EGFR-ERK1/2-MYC cascade conferred the insensitivity to tigecycline, which was mediated by enhanced secretion of EREG and AREG. Moreover, glycolytic enzymes, such as HK2 and PKM2 were upregulated to stimulate glycolysisin a MYC-dependent manner. Tigecycline induced respiratory chain deficiency in combination with cutting off EGFR-ERK1/2-MYC cascade by MEK inhibitors or EGFR inhibitors, resulting in decrease of both oxidative phosphorylation and glycolysis in liver cancer cells.


Our study proved that blocking EGFR-ERK1/2-MYC cascade combined with tigecycline could be a potential therapeutic strategy for liver cancer.

More about this publication

  • Volume 87
  • Pages 104397
  • Publication date 01-01-2023

This site uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.