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We have established a systematic high-throughput screen for genes that cause cell death specifically in transformed tumor cells. In a first round of screening, cDNAs that induce apoptosis in a transformed human cell line are detected. Positive genes are subsequently tested in a synthetic lethal screen in normal cells versus their isogenic counterparts that have been transformed by a particular oncogene. In this way, the organic cation transporter-like 3 (ORCTL3) gene was found to be inactive in normal rat kidney (NRK) cells, but to induce apoptosis in NRK cells transformed by oncogenic H-ras. ORCTL3 also causes cell death in v-src-transformed cells and in various human tumor cell lines but not in normal cells or untransformed cell lines. Although ORCTL3 is a member of the organic cation transporter gene family, our data indicate that this gene induces apoptosis independently of its putative transporter activity. Rather, various lines of evidence suggest that ORCTL3 brings about apoptosis by an endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated mechanism. Finally, we detected ORCTL3 to be downregulated in human kidney tumors.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Death Differ

Publication Date





890 - 898


Animals, Apoptosis, Cell Line, Transformed, Cell Line, Tumor, Down-Regulation, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Humans, Neoplasms, Organic Anion Transporters, Organic Cation Transport Proteins, Rats, ras Proteins