A small interfering RNA screen of genes involved in DNA repair identifies tumor-specific radiosensitization by POLQ knockdown.
ABSTRACT The effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment could be significantly improved if tumor cells could be rendered more sensitive to ionizing radiation (IR) without altering the sensitivity of normal tissues. However, many of the key therapeutically exploitable mechanisms that determine intrinsic tumor radiosensitivity are largely unknown. We have conducted a small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen of 200 genes involved in DNA damage repair aimed at identifying genes whose knockdown increased tumor radiosensitivity. Parallel siRNA screens were conducted in irradiated and unirradiated tumor cells (SQ20B) and irradiated normal tissue cells (MRC5). Using gammaH2AX foci at 24 hours after IR, we identified several genes, such as BRCA2, Lig IV, and XRCC5, whose knockdown is known to cause increased cell radiosensitivity, thereby validating the primary screening end point. In addition, we identified POLQ (DNA polymerase ) as a potential tumor-specific target. Subsequent investigations showed that POLQ knockdown resulted in radiosensitization of a panel of tumor cell lines from different primary sites while having little or no effect on normal tissue cell lines. These findings raise the possibility that POLQ inhibition might be used clinically to cause tumor-specific radiosensitization.
Full-textDOI: · Available from: Eric J Bernhard, May 30, 2015
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ABSTRACT: DNA polymerase θ protects against genomic instability via an alternative end-joining repair pathway for DNA double-strand breaks. Polymerase θ is overexpressed in breast, lung and oral cancers, and reduction of its activity in mammalian cells increases sensitivity to double-strand break-inducing agents, including ionizing radiation. Reported here are crystal structures of the C-terminal polymerase domain from human polymerase θ, illustrating two potential modes of dimerization. One structure depicts insertion of ddATP opposite an abasic-site analog during translesion DNA synthesis. The second structure describes a cognate ddGTP complex. Polymerase θ uses a specialized thumb subdomain to establish unique upstream contacts to the primer DNA strand, including an interaction with the 3'-terminal phosphate from one of five distinctive insertion loops. These observations demonstrate how polymerase θ grasps the primer to bypass DNA lesions or extend poorly annealed DNA termini to mediate end-joining.Nature Structural & Molecular Biology 03/2015; 22(4). DOI:10.1038/nsmb.2993 · 11.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cisplatin is widely used against various tumors, but resistance is commonly encountered. By inducing DNA crosslinks, cisplatin triggers DNA damage response (DDR) and cell death. However, the molecular determinants of how cells respond to cisplatin are incompletely understood. Since ubiquitination plays a major role in DDR, we performed a high-content siRNA screen targeting 327 human ubiquitin ligases and 92 deubiquitinating enzymes in U2OS cells, interrogating the response to cisplatin. We quantified γH2AX by immunofluorescence and image analysis as a read-out for DNA damage. Among known mediators of DDR, the screen identified the ubiquitin ligase G2E3 as a new player in the response to cisplatin. G2E3 depletion led to decreased γH2AX levels and decreased phosphorylation of the checkpoint kinase 1 (Chk1) upon cisplatin. Moreover, loss of G2E3 triggered apoptosis and decreased proliferation of cancer cells. Treating cells with the nucleoside analogue gemcitabine led to increased accumulation of single-stranded DNA upon G2E3 depletion, pointing to a defect in replication. Furthermore, we show that endogenous G2E3 levels in cancer cells were down-regulated upon chemotherapeutic treatment. Taken together, our results suggest that G2E3 is a molecular determinant of the DDR and cell survival, and that its loss sensitizes tumor cells towards DNA-damaging treatment.Oncotarget 12/2014; · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Elucidating the genetic determinants of radiation response is crucial to optimizing and individualizing radiotherapy for cancer patients. In order to identify genes that are involved in enhanced sensitivity or resistance to radiation, a library of stable mutant murine embryonic stem cells (ESCs), each with a defined mutation, was screened for cell viability and gene expression in response to radiation exposure. We focused on a cancer-relevant subset of over 500 mutant ESC lines. We identified 13 genes; 7 genes that have been previously implicated in radiation response and 6 other genes that have never been implicated in radiation response. After screening, proteomic analysis showed enrichment for genes involved in cellular component disassembly (e.g. Dstn and Pex14) and regulation of growth (e.g. Adnp2, Epc1, and Ing4). Overall, the best targets with the highest potential for sensitizing cancer cells to radiation were Dstn and Map2k6, and the best targets for enhancing resistance to radiation were Iqgap and Vcan. Hence, we provide compelling evidence that screening mutant ESCs is a powerful approach to identify genes that alter radiation response. Ultimately, this knowledge can be used to define genetic variants or therapeutic targets that will enhance clinical therapy.PLoS ONE 04/2015; 10(4):e0120534. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0120534 · 3.53 Impact Factor