Wiley, Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research, 4(27), p. 640-652
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The activation of oncogenes in primary cells blocks proliferation by inducing oncogene-induced senescence (OIS), a highly potent in vivo tumor-suppressing program. A prime example is mutant BRAF, which drives OIS in melanocytic nevi. Progression to melanoma occurs only in the context of additional alteration(s) like the suppression of PTEN, which abrogates OIS. Here, we performed a near-genomewide short hairpin (sh)RNA screen for novel OIS regulators and identified by next generation sequencing and functional validation seven genes. While all but one were upregulated in OIS, their depletion abrogated BRAF(V) (600E) -induced arrest. With genome-wide DNA methylation analysis we found one of these genes, RASEF, to be hypermethylated in primary cutaneous melanomas compared to nevi. Bypass of OIS by depletion of RASEF was associated with suppression of several senescence biomarkers including senescence-associated (SA)-β-galactosidase activity, interleukins and tumor suppressor p15(INK) (4B) . Restoration of RASEF expression inhibited proliferation. These results illustrate the power of shRNA OIS bypass screens and identify a potential novel melanoma suppressor gene. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.