COPZ1 depletion in thyroid tumor cells triggers type I IFN response and immunogenic cell death

Tiziana Di Marco, Francesca Bianchi, Lucia Sfondrini, Katia Todoerti, Italia Bongarzone, Elisa Margherita Maffioli, Gabriella Tedeschi, Mara Mazzoni, Sonia Pagliardini, Sandra Pellegrini, Antonino Neri, Maria Chiara Anania, Angela Greco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The coatomer protein complex zeta 1 (COPZ1) represents a non-oncogene addiction for thyroid cancer (TC); its depletion impairs the viability of thyroid tumor cells, leads to abortive autophagy, ER stress, UPR and apoptosis, and reduces tumor growth of TC xenograft models. In this study we investigated the molecular pathways activated by COPZ1 depletion and the paracrine effects on cellular microenvironment and immune response. By comprehensive and target approaches we demonstrated that COPZ1 depletion in TPC-1 and 8505C thyroid tumor cell lines activates type I IFN pathway and viral mimicry responses. The secretome from COPZ1-depleted cells was enriched for several inflammatory molecules and damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Moreover, we found that dendritic cells, exposed to these secretomes, expressed high levels of differentiation and maturation markers, and stimulated the proliferation of naïve T cells. Interestingly, T cells stimulated with COPZ1-depleted cells showed increased cytotoxic activity against parental tumor cells. Collectively, our findings support the notion that targeting COPZ1 may represent a promising therapeutic approach for TC, considering its specificity for cancer cells, the lack of effect on normal cells, and the capacity to prompt an anti-tumor immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-119
Number of pages14
JournalCancer Letters
Publication statusPublished - Apr 28 2020


  • COPZ1
  • Immunogenic cell death
  • Inflammation
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Type I IFN

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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