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Transcriptome and proteome profiling reveals stress-induced expression signatures of imiquimod-treated Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) cells


Patchett, AL and Wilson, R and Charlesworth, JC and Corcoran, LM and Papenfuss, AT and Lyons, AB and Woods, GM and Tovar, C, Transcriptome and proteome profiling reveals stress-induced expression signatures of imiquimod-treated Tasmanian devil facial tumor disease (DFTD) cells, OncoTarget, 9, (22) pp. 15895-15914. ISSN 1949-2553 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright: Patchett et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 3.0 (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI: doi:10.18632/oncotarget.24634


As a topical cancer immunotherapy, the toll-like receptor 7 ligand imiquimod activates tumor regression via stimulation of immune cell infiltration and cytotoxic responses. Imiquimod also exerts direct pro-apoptotic effects on tumor cells in vitro, but a role for these effects in imiquimod-induced tumor regression remains undefined. We previously demonstrated that cell lines derived from devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), a transmissible cancer threatening the survival of the Tasmanian devil (Sarcophilus harrisii), are sensitive to imiquimod-induced apoptosis. In this study, the pro-apoptotic effects of imiquimod in DFTD have been investigated using RNA-sequencing and label-free quantitative proteomics. This analysis revealed that changes to gene and protein expression in imiquimod treated DFTD cells are consistent with the onset of oxidative and endoplasmic reticulum stress responses, and subsequent activation of the unfolded protein response, autophagy, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Imiquimod also regulates the expression of oncogenic pathways, providing a direct mechanism by which this drug may increase tumor susceptibility to immune cytotoxicity in vivo. Our study has provided the first global analysis of imiquimod-induced effects in any tumor cell line. These findings have highlighted the potential of cell stress pathways as therapeutic targets in DFTD, and will allow for improved mechanistic use of imiquimod as a therapy in both the Tasmanian devil and human cancers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:imiquimod, Tasmanian devil, devil facial tumor disease, cancer, immunotherapy
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal immunology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Patchett, AL (Dr Amanda Patchett)
UTAS Author:Wilson, R (Dr Richard Wilson)
UTAS Author:Charlesworth, JC (Dr Jac Charlesworth)
UTAS Author:Lyons, AB (Associate Professor Bruce Lyons)
UTAS Author:Woods, GM (Professor Gregory Woods)
UTAS Author:Tovar, C (Dr Cesar Tovar Lopez)
ID Code:125097
Year Published:2018
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2018-03-27
Last Modified:2018-12-11
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