Induction of P21-Dependent Senescence: Role of NAE Inhibitor MLN4924

  • Yongfu Pan
  • Yi Sun
  • Lijun Jia
Part of the Tumor Dormancy and Cellular Quiescence and Senescence book series (DOQU, volume 2)


Cellular senescence is a state of cell growth-arrest that limits the proliferation of cancer cells, and thus induction of senescence has been regarded as a promising anticancer strategy. Neddylation is a post-translational modification by adding ubiquitin-like molecule NEDD8 to targeted proteins via an enzymatic cascade reaction, and thus regulates the localization, stability and function of neddylated proteins. The most well identified targets of neddylation so far are cullins which function as essential subunits of multiunit Cullin-RING E3 ubiquitin ligases (CRLs). Recently, a specific inhibitor of NEDD8 activating enzyme (NAE), MLN4924, was identified as the first-in-class anticancer agent. We found that MLN4924 induces cellular senescence as a new mechanism of cancer cell growth suppression. Mechanistically, NAE inhibitor MLN4924 blocks cullin neddylation and thus inhibits the activity of CRL. By doing so, MLN4924 induces the accumulation of p21, a well-known CRL substrate and a major mediator of senescence, to trigger cellular senescence, whereas depletion of p21 largely abrogates MLN4924-induced senescence and attenuates the anticancer efficacy of MLN4924. Our study reveals a novel mechanism of MLN4924 action which will facilitate the development of this investigational drug as a novel class of anticancer agent.


Cellular senescence Characteristics of senescence Cullin-RING E3 ligase (CRL) P21 NAE inhibitor MLN4924 Neddylation Tumorigenesis and anti-cancer therapy 



We thank Millennium Pharmaceutical, Inc. for providing us MLN4924. This work is supported by NCI grants (CA111554 and CA118762) to YS, and National Natural Science Foundation Grant of China (31071204, 81172092), National Basic Research Program of China (973 program, 2012CB910302), Shanghai Pujiang Talent Program (12PJ1400600), the Program for Professor of Special Appointment (Eastern Scholar) at Shanghai Institutions of Higher Learning and Key Project of Shanghai Municipal Health Bureau (2010012) to Lijun Jia.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer InstituteFudan University Shanghai Cancer CenterShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology, Department of Radiation OncologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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