Sept4/ARTS is required for stem cell apoptosis and tumor suppression
M Garcia Fernandez,
A. J Schile,
Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) are frequently overexpressed in tumors and have become promising targets for developing anti-cancer drugs. IAPs can be inhibited by natural antagonists, but a physiological requirement of mammalian IAP antagonists remains to be established. Here we show that deletion of the mouse Sept4 gene, which encodes the IAP antagonist ARTS, promotes tumor development. Sept4-null mice have increased numbers of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, elevated XIAP protein, increased resistance to cell death, and accelerated tumor development in an Eµ-Myc background. These phenotypes are partially suppressed by inactivation of XIAP. Our results suggest that apoptosis plays an important role as a frontline defense against cancer by restricting the number of normal stem cells.