COPI vesicle formation and N-myristoylation are targetable vulnerabilities of senescent cells

More about Open Access at the Crick


Drugs that selectively kill senescent cells (senolytics) improve the outcomes of cancer, fibrosis and age-related diseases. Despite their potential, our knowledge of the molecular pathways that affect the survival of senescent cells is limited. To discover senolytic targets, we performed RNAi screens and identified coatomer complex I (COPI) vesicle formation as a liability of senescent cells. Genetic or pharmacological inhibition of COPI results in Golgi dispersal, dysfunctional autophagy, and unfolded protein response-dependent apoptosis of senescent cells, and knockdown of COPI subunits improves the outcomes of cancer and fibrosis in mouse models. Drugs targeting COPI have poor pharmacological properties, but we find that N-myristoyltransferase inhibitors (NMTi) phenocopy COPI inhibition and are potent senolytics. NMTi selectively eliminated senescent cells and improved outcomes in models of cancer and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Our results suggest that senescent cells rely on a hyperactive secretory apparatus and that inhibiting trafficking kills senescent cells with the potential to treat various senescence-associated diseases.

Journal details

Volume 25
Issue number 12
Pages 1804-1820
Available online
Publication date