Targeting abnormal DNA repair in therapy-resistant breast cancers.
ABSTRACT: Although hereditary breast cancers have defects in the DNA damage response that result in genomic instability, DNA repair abnormalities in sporadic breast cancers have not been extensively characterized. Recently, we showed that, relative to nontumorigenic breast epithelial MCF10A cells, estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) MCF7 breast cancer cells and progesterone receptor-positive (PR+) MCF7 breast cancer cells have reduced steady-state levels of DNA ligase IV, a component of the major DNA-protein kinase (PK)-dependent nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway, whereas the steady-state level of DNA ligase III?, a component of the highly error-prone alternative NHEJ (ALT NHEJ) pathway, is increased. Here, we show that tamoxifen- and aromatase-resistant derivatives of MCF7 cells and ER(-)/PR(-) cells have even higher steady-state levels of DNA ligase III? and increased levels of PARP1, another ALT NHEJ component. This results in increased dependence upon microhomology-mediated ALT NHEJ to repair DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) and the accumulation of chromosomal deletions. Notably, therapy-resistant derivatives of MCF7 cells and ER(-)/PR(-) cells exhibited significantly increased sensitivity to a combination of PARP and DNA ligase III inhibitors that increased the number of DSBs. Biopsies from ER(-)/PR(-) tumors had elevated levels of ALT NHEJ and reduced levels of DNA-PK-dependent NHEJ factors. Thus, our results show that ALT NHEJ is a novel therapeutic target in breast cancers that are resistant to frontline therapies and suggest that changes in NHEJ protein levels may serve as biomarkers to identify tumors that are candidates for this therapeutic approach.
Project description:Resistance to imatinib (IM) and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI)s is an increasing problem in leukemias caused by expression of BCR-ABL1. As chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) cell lines expressing BCR-ABL1 utilize an alternative non-homologous end-joining pathway (ALT NHEJ) to repair DNA double-strand breaks (DSB)s, we asked whether this repair pathway is a novel therapeutic target in TKI-resistant disease. Notably, the steady state levels of two ALT NHEJ proteins, poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) and DNA ligase III?, were increased in the BCR-ABL1-positive CML cell line K562 and, to a greater extent, in its imatinib-resistant (IMR) derivative. Incubation of these cell lines with a combination of DNA ligase and PARP inhibitors inhibited ALT NHEJ and selectively decreased survival with the effect being greater in the IMR derivative. Similar results were obtained with TKI-resistant derivatives of two hematopoietic cell lines that had been engineered to stably express BCR-ABL1. Together our results show that the sensitivity of cell lines expressing BCR-ABL1 to the combination of DNA ligase and PARP inhibitors correlates with the steady state levels of PARP1 and DNA ligase III?, and ALT NHEJ activity. Importantly, analysis of clinical samples from CML patients confirmed that the expression levels of PARP1 and DNA ligase III? correlated with the sensitivity to the DNA repair inhibitor combination. Thus, the expression levels of PARP1 and DNA ligase III? serve as biomarkers to identify a subgroup of CML patients who may be candidates for therapies that target the ALT NHEJ pathway when treatment with TKIs has failed.
Project description:Recent studies have implicated a poorly defined alternative pathway of nonhomologous end joining (alt-NHEJ) in the generation of large deletions and chromosomal translocations that are frequently observed in cancer cells. Here, we describe an interaction between two factors, hMre11/hRad50/Nbs1 (MRN) and DNA ligase III?/XRCC1, that have been linked with alt-NHEJ. Expression of DNA ligase III? and the association between MRN and DNA ligase III?/XRCC1 are altered in cell lines defective in the major NHEJ pathway. Most notably, DNA damage induced the association of these factors in DNA ligase IV-deficient cells. MRN interacts with DNA ligase III?/XRCC1, stimulating intermolecular ligation, and together these proteins join incompatible DNA ends in a reaction that mimics alt-NHEJ. Thus, our results provide novel mechanistic insights into the alt-NHEJ pathway that not only contributes to genome instability in cancer cells but may also be a therapeutic target.
Project description:Acquired resistance to cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibition in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer remains a significant clinical challenge. Efforts to uncover the mechanisms underlying resistance are needed to establish clinically actionable targets effective against resistant tumors. In this study, we sought to identify differentially expressed genes (DEGs) associated with acquired resistance to palbociclib in ER+ breast cancer. We performed next-generation transcriptomic RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and pathway analysis in ER+ MCF7 palbociclib-sensitive (MCF7/pS) and MCF7 palbociclib-resistant (MCF7/pR) cells. We identified 2183 up-regulated and 1548 down-regulated transcripts in MCF7/pR compared to MCF7/pS cells. Functional analysis of the DEGs using Gene Ontology (GO) and the Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) database identified several pathways associated with breast cancer, including 'cell cycle', 'DNA replication', 'DNA repair' and 'autophagy'. Additionally, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) revealed that resistance to palbociclib is closely associated with deregulation of several key canonical and metabolic pathways. Further studies are needed to determine the utility of these DEGs and pathways as therapeutics targets against ER+ palbociclib-resistant breast cancer.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is a cancer of neural crest stem cell (NCSC) lineage. Signaling pathways that regulate NCSC differentiation have been implicated in neuroblastoma tumorigenesis. This is exemplified by MYCN oncogene targets that balance proliferation, differentiation, and cell death similarly in normal NCSC and in high-risk neuroblastoma. Our previous work discovered a survival mechanism by which MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma circumvents cell death by upregulating components of the error-prone non-canonical alternative nonhomologous end-joining (alt-NHEJ) DNA repair pathway. Similar to proliferating stem cells, high-risk neuroblastoma cells have enhanced DNA repair capacity, overcoming DNA damage with higher repair efficiency than somatic cells. Adequate DNA maintenance is required for lineage protection as stem cells proliferate and during tumor progression to overcome oncogene-induced replication stress. On this basis, we hypothesized that alt-NHEJ overexpression in neuroblastoma is a cancer cell survival mechanism that originates from DNA repair systems of NCSC, the presumed progenitor cell of origin. A human NCSC model was generated in which inducible MYCN triggered an immortalized phenotype capable of forming metastatic neuroectodermal tumors in mice, resembling human neuroblastoma. Critical alt-NHEJ components (DNA Ligase III, DNA Ligase I, and Poly [ADP-ribose polymerase 1]) were highly expressed in normal early NCSC, and decreased as cells became terminally differentiated. Constitutive MYCN expression maintained high alt-NHEJ protein expression, preserving the expression pattern of the immature neural phenotype. siRNA knockdown of alt-NHEJ components reversed MYCN effects on NCSC proliferation, invasion, and migration. DNA Ligase III, Ligase I, and PARP1 silencing significantly decreased neuroblastoma markers expression (TH, Phox2b, and TRKB). These results utilized the first human NCSC model of neuroblastoma to uncover an important link between MYCN and alt-NHEJ expression in developmental tumor initiation, setting precedence to investigate alt-NHEJ repair mechanics in neuroblastoma DNA maintenance.
Project description:The ATP-binding cassette multidrug resistance protein 8 (MRP8/ABCC11) mediates the excretion of anticancer drugs. ABCC11 mRNA and protein levels were enhanced by DEX (dexamethasone) and by PROG (progesterone) in MCF7 (progesterone receptor-(PR-) positive) but not in MDA-MB-231 (PR-negative) breast cancer cells. This suggested a PR-signaling pathway involvement in ABCC11 regulation. Nevertheless, pregnenolone-16?-carbonitrile (GR antagonist) and clotrimazole strongly and moderately decreased ABCC11 expression levels in Glucocortocoid Receptor-(GR-) and Pregnane X Receptor (PXR)-positive MCF7 cells but not in MDA-MB-231 cells (GR- and PXR-positive). Thus, GR-signaling pathway involvement could not be excluded in ABCC11 regulation in MCF7 cells. Furthermore, ABCC11 levels were positively correlated with the PR status of postmenopausal patient breast tumors from two independent cohorts. Thus, in the subclass of breast tumors (Estrogen Receptor-(ER-) negative/PR-positive), the elevated expression level of ABCC11 may alter the sensitivity to ABCC11 anticancer substrates, especially under treatment combinations with DEX.
Project description:The crumbs protein homolog 3 (CRB3) regulates the tight junction to help maintain epithelial polarity. Altered CRB3 expression was associated with carcinogenesis of epithelial cells. This study detected CRB3 expression in 192 cases of breast cancer tissues and in the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (Metabric) and The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) datasets for association with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) phenotypes. The in vitro experiments confirm the ex vivo data. The data showed that levels of both CRB3 mRNA and protein were associated with TNBC phenotypes, ie, 41.1% (39/95) of ER+ breast cancer was CRB3-positive, whereas 26.9% (25/93) ER- tumour was CRB3-positive (P = 0.046). Moreover, 47.6% (30/63) of PR+ breast cancer was CRB3-positive vs 28.4% (33/116) PR- tumours positive for CRB3 (P = 0.013). In addition, 40.1% (27/66) of ER+/PR+ tumour was CRB3-positive, but only 22.4% (19/85) of TNBC showed CRB3 expression (P = 0.048). Indeed, levels of CRB3 mRNA were higher in non-TNBC than TNBC in both Metabric (P = 3.682e-10) and TCGA datasets (P = 2.501e-07). The in vitro data showed that CRB3 expression was higher in luminal (MCF7 and T47D) than in HER2 (MDA-MB-453 and SK-BR-3) and basal (MDA-MB-231 and BT-549) breast cancer cell lines. More interestingly, ER? regulated expression of CRB3 protein in MCF7 and BT-549 cells and ER? expression was associated with CRB3 expression in breast cancer tissues specimens. This study demonstrated that ER? could be a novel regulator for CRB3 expression in breast cancer.
Project description:Progesterone and estrogen are important drivers of breast cancer proliferation. Herein, we probed estrogen receptor-? (ER) and progesterone receptor (PR) cross-talk in breast cancer models. Stable expression of PR-B in PR-low/ER+ MCF7 cells increased cellular sensitivity to estradiol and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), as measured in growth assays performed in the absence of exogenous progestin; similar results were obtained in PR-null/ER+ T47D cells stably expressing PR-B. Genome-wide microarray analyses revealed that unliganded PR-B induced robust expression of a subset of estradiol-responsive ER target genes, including cathepsin-D (CTSD). Estradiol-treated MCF7 cells stably expressing PR-B exhibited enhanced ER Ser167 phosphorylation and recruitment of ER, PR and the proline-, glutamate- and leucine-rich protein 1 (PELP1) to an estrogen response element in the CTSD distal promoter; this complex co-immunoprecipitated with IGF1 receptor (IGFR1) in whole-cell lysates. Importantly, ER/PR/PELP1 complexes were also detected in human breast cancer samples. Inhibition of IGF1R or phosphoinositide 3-kinase blocked PR-B-dependent CTSD mRNA upregulation in response to estradiol. Similarly, inhibition of IGF1R or PR significantly reduced ER recruitment to the CTSD promoter. Stable knockdown of endogenous PR or onapristone treatment of multiple unmodified breast cancer cell lines blocked estradiol-mediated CTSD induction, inhibited growth in soft agar and partially restored tamoxifen sensitivity of resistant cells. Further, combination treatment of breast cancer cells with both onapristone and IGF1R tyrosine kinase inhibitor AEW541 was more effective than either agent alone. In summary, unliganded PR-B enhanced proliferative responses to estradiol and IGF1 via scaffolding of ER-?/PELP1/IGF1R-containing complexes. Our data provide a strong rationale for targeting PR in combination with ER and IGF1R in patients with luminal breast cancer.
Project description:Nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) is the primary DNA repair pathway thought to underlie chromosomal translocations and other genomic rearrangements in somatic cells. The canonical NHEJ pathway, including DNA ligase IV (Lig4), suppresses genomic instability and chromosomal translocations, leading to the notion that a poorly defined, alternative NHEJ (alt-NHEJ) pathway generates these rearrangements. Here, we investigate the DNA ligase requirement of chromosomal translocation formation in mouse cells. Mammals have two other DNA ligases, Lig1 and Lig3, in addition to Lig4. As deletion of Lig3 results in cellular lethality due to its requirement in mitochondria, we used recently developed cell lines deficient in nuclear Lig3 but rescued for mitochondrial DNA ligase activity. Further, zinc finger endonucleases were used to generate DNA breaks at endogenous loci to induce translocations. Unlike with Lig4 deficiency, which causes an increase in translocation frequency, translocations are reduced in frequency in the absence of Lig3. Residual translocations in Lig3-deficient cells do not show a bias toward use of pre-existing microhomology at the breakpoint junctions, unlike either wild-type or Lig4-deficient cells, consistent with the notion that alt-NHEJ is impaired with Lig3 loss. By contrast, Lig1 depletion in otherwise wild-type cells does not reduce translocations or affect microhomology use. However, translocations are further reduced in Lig3-deficient cells upon Lig1 knockdown, suggesting the existence of two alt-NHEJ pathways, one that is biased toward microhomology use and requires Lig3 and a back-up pathway which does not depend on microhomology and utilizes Lig1.
Project description:The internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations of the FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) receptor found in acute myeloid leukemia patients are associated with poor prognosis. Although DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are mainly repaired by the DNA-PK-dependent nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway in normal mammalian cells, an alternative and less well-defined NHEJ pathway, characterized by microhomology at the repair junctions, play a role in the generation of deletions and translocations leading to cancer progression. Here we report that in FLT3/ITD-expressing cell lines and bone marrow mononuclear cells from FLT3/ITD knock-in mice, end-joining of DSBs occurs at microhomologous sequences resulting in a high frequency of DNA deletions. Strikingly, levels of Ku proteins, key components of the main NHEJ pathway, are decreased in FLT3/ITD(+) cell lines and murine FLT3/ITD bone marrow mononuclear cells. Concomitantly, levels of DNA ligase III?, a component of ALT NHEJ, are increased in FLT3/ITD-expressing cells. Cells treated with a FLT3 inhibitor demonstrate decreased DNA ligase III? and a reduction in DNA deletions, suggesting that FLT3 signaling regulates the pathways by which DSBs are repaired. Thus, therapy to inhibit FLT3/ITD signaling and/or DNA ligase III? may lead to repair that reduces repair errors and genomic instability.
Project description:Chromosomal translocations in hematologic and mesenchymal tumors form overwhelmingly by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). Canonical NHEJ, essential for the repair of radiation-induced and some programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs), requires the Xrcc4-ligase IV complex. For other DSBs, the requirement for Xrcc4-ligase IV is less stringent, suggesting the existence of alternative end-joining (alt-NHEJ) pathways. To understand the contributions of the canonical NHEJ and alt-NHEJ pathways, we examined translocation formation in cells deficient in Xrcc4-ligase IV. We found that Xrcc4-ligase IV is not required for but rather suppresses translocations. Translocation breakpoint junctions have similar characteristics in wild-type cells and cells deficient in Xrcc4-ligase IV, including an unchanged bias toward microhomology, unlike what is observed for intrachromosomal DSB repair. Complex insertions in some junctions show that joining can be iterative, encompassing successive processing steps before joining. Our results imply that alt-NHEJ is the primary mediator of translocation formation in mammalian cells.