• Mapping new non-genetic dependencies in malignant pleural mesothelioma
  • Lorenzini, Eugenia <1993>


  • BIO/11 Biologia molecolare


  • Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MPM) is a very aggressive cancer whose incidence is growing worldwide. MPM escapes the classical models of carcinogenesis and lacks a distinctive genetic fingerprint, keeping obscure the molecular events that lead to tumorigenesis. This severely impacts on the limited therapeutic options and on the lack of specific biomarkers, concurring to make MPM one of the deadliest cancers. Here we combined a functional genome-wide loss of function CRISPR/Cas9 screening with patients’ transcriptomic and clinical data, to identify genes essential for MPM progression. Besides, we explored the role of non-coding RNAs to MPM progression by analysing gene expression profiles and clinical data from the MESO-TCGA dataset. We identified TRIM28 and the lncRNA LINC00941 as new vulnerabilities of MPM, associated with disease aggressiveness and bad outcome of patients. TRIM28 is a multi-domain protein involved in many processes, including transcription regulation. We showed that TRIM28 silencing impairs MPM cells’ growth and clonogenicity by blocking cells in mitosis. RNA-seq profiling showed that TRIM28 loss abolished the expression of major mitotic players. Our data suggest that TRIM28 is part of the B-MYB/FOXM1-MuvB complex that specifically drives the activation of mitotic genes, keeping the time of mitosis. In parallel, we found LINC00941 as strongly associated with reduced survival probability in MPM patients. LINC00941 KD profoundly reduced MPM cells’ growth, migration and invasion. This is accompanied by changes in morphology, cytoskeleton organization and cell-cell adhesion properties. RNA-seq profiling showed that LINC00941 KD impacts crucial functions of MPM, including HIF1α signalling. Collectively these data provided new insights into MPM biology and demonstrated that the integration of functional screening with patients’ clinical data is a powerful tool to highlight new non-genetic cancer dependencies that associate to a bad outcome in vivo, paving the way to new MPM-oriented targeted strategies and prognostic tools to improve patients risk-based stratification.


  • 2022-06-20


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Lorenzini, Eugenia (2022) Mapping new non-genetic dependencies in malignant pleural mesothelioma, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare , 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10287.