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    Targeting cytokinesis can suppress tumor growth by blocking cell division and promoting apoptosis. We aimed to characterize key cytokinesis regulator in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) progression, providing insights into identifying promising HCC therapeutic targets. The unbiased bioinformatic screening identified Anillin actin binding protein (ANLN) as a critical cytokinesis regulator involved in HCC development. Functional assay demonstrated that knockdown of ANLN inhibited HCC growth by inducing cytokinesis failure and DNA damage, leading to multinucleation and mitotic catastrophe. Mechanistically, ANLN acts as a scaffold to strengthen interaction between RACGAP1 and PLK1. ANLN promotes PLK1-mediated RACGAP1 phosphorylation and RhoA activation to ensure cytokinesis fidelity. To explore the function of ANLN in HCC tumorigenesis, we hydrodynamically transfected c-Myc and NRAS plasmids into Anln+/+, Anln+/-, and Anln-/- mice through tail vein injection. Hepatic Anln ablation significantly impaired c-Myc/NRAS-driven hepatocarcinogenesis. Moreover, enhanced hepatic polyploidization was observed in Anln ablation mice, manifesting as increasing proportion of cellular and nuclear polyploidy. Clinically, ANLN is upregulated in human HCC tissues and high level of ANLN is correlated with poor patients' prognosis. Additionally, the proportion of cellular polyploidy decreases during HCC progression and ANLN level is significantly correlated with cellular polyploidy proportion in human HCC samples. In conclusion, ANLN is identified as a key cytokinesis regulator contributing to HCC initiation and progression. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism of ANLN in the regulation of cytokinesis to promote HCC tumorigenesis and growth, suggesting targeting ANLN to inhibit cytokinesis may be a promising therapeutic strategy for HCC. © 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.


    Jian Chen, Zequn Li, Xing Jia, Wenfeng Song, Hao Wu, Hai Zhu, Zefeng Xuan, Yehui Du, Xingxin Zhu, Guangyuan Song, Haijiang Dong, Suchen Bian, Shuo Wang, Yongchao Zhao, Haiyang Xie, Shusen Zheng, Penghong Song. Targeting anillin inhibits tumorigenesis and tumor growth in hepatocellular carcinoma via impairing cytokinesis fidelity. Oncogene. 2022 May;41(22):3118-3130

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    PMID: 35477750

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