Overexpression of the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex in rectal cancer correlates with poor response to neoadjuvant radiotherapy and prognosis.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:The MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex plays an essential role in detecting and repairing double-stranded breaks, and thus the potential roles of MRE11, RAD50 and NBS1 proteins in the pathogenesis of various cancers is the subject of investigation. This study was aimed at assessing the three-protein panel of MRN complex subunits as a potential radiosensitivity marker and evaluating the prognostic and clinicopathological implications of MRN expression in rectal cancer. METHODS:Samples from 265 rectal cancer patients treated with surgery and adjuvant chemoradiotherapy, including samples from 55 patients who were treated with neoadjuvant radiotherapy between 2000 and 2011, were analyzed. Expression of MRN complex proteins in tissue samples was determined by immunohistochemistry. Univariate and multivariate analyses were carried out to identify clinicopathological characteristics that are associated with the MRN three-protein panel expression in rectal cancer samples. RESULTS:In Kaplan-Meier survival analyses, we found that high level expression of MRN complex proteins in postoperative samples was associated with poor disease-free (p?=?0.021) and overall (P?=?0.002) survival. Interestingly, high MRN expression also correlated with poor disease-free (P?=?0.047) and overall (P?=?0.024) survival in the neoadjuvant radiotherapy subgroup. In multivariate analysis, combined MRN expression (hazard ratio?=?2.114, 95% confidence interval 1.096-4.078, P?=?0.026) and perineural invasion (hazard ratio?=?2.160, 95% confidence interval 1.209-3.859, P?=?0.009) were significantly associated with a worse disease-free survival. CONCLUSIONS:Expression levels of MRN complex proteins significantly predict disease-free survival in rectal cancer patients, including those treated with neoadjuvant radiotherapy, and may have value in the management of these patients.
Project description:Predictive assays are needed to help optimise treatment in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, where patients can be treated by either cystectomy or radical radiotherapy. Our finding that low tumour MRE11 expression is predictive of poor response to radiotherapy but not cystectomy was recently independently validated. Here we investigated further the mechanism underlying low MRE11 expression seen in poorly-responding patients. MRE11 RNA and protein levels were measured in 88 bladder tumour patient samples, by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively, and a panel of eight bladder cancer cell lines was screened for MRE11, RAD50 and NBS1 mRNA and protein expression. There was no correlation between bladder tumour MRE11 protein and RNA scores (Spearman's rho 0.064, p=0.65), suggesting MRE11 is controlled post-transcriptionally, a pattern confirmed in eight bladder cancer cell lines. In contrast, NBS1 and RAD50 mRNA and protein levels were correlated (p=0.01 and p=0.03, respectively), suggesting primary regulation at the level of transcription. MRE11 protein levels were correlated with NBS1 and RAD50 mRNA and protein levels, implicating MRN complex formation as an important determinant of MRE11 expression, driven by RAD50 and NBS1 expression. Our findings of the post-transcriptional nature of the control of MRE11 imply that any predictive assays used in patients need to be performed at the protein level rather than the mRNA level.
Project description:The MRE11, RAD50, and NBS1 genes encode proteins of the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex critical for proper maintenance of genomic integrity and tumour suppression; however, the extent and impact of their cancer-predisposing defects, and potential clinical value remain to be determined. Here, we report that among a large series of approximately 1000 breast carcinomas, around 3%, 7% and 10% tumours showed aberrantly reduced protein expression for RAD50, MRE11 and NBS1, respectively. Such defects were more frequent among the ER/PR/ERBB2 triple-negative and higher-grade tumours, among familial (especially BRCA1/BRCA2-associated) rather than sporadic cases, and the NBS1 defects correlated with shorter patients' survival. The BRCA1-associated and ER/PR/ERBB2 triple-negative tumours also showed high incidence of constitutively active DNA damage signalling (gammaH2AX) and p53 aberrations. Sequencing the RAD50, MRE11 and NBS1 genes of 8 patients from non-BRCA1/2 breast cancer families whose tumours showed concomitant reduction/loss of all three MRN-complex proteins revealed two germline mutations in MRE11: a missense mutation R202G and a truncating mutation R633STOP (R633X). Gene transfer and protein analysis of cell culture models with mutant MRE11 implicated various destabilization patterns among the MRN complex proteins including NBS1, the abundance of which was restored by re-expression of wild-type MRE11. We propose that germline mutations qualify MRE11 as a novel candidate breast cancer susceptibility gene in a subset of non-BRCA1/2 families. Our data have implications for the concept of the DNA damage response as an intrinsic anti-cancer barrier, various components of which become inactivated during cancer progression and also represent the bulk of breast cancer susceptibility genes discovered to date.
Project description:The Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) protein complex and ATM/Tel1 kinase protect genome integrity through their functions in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair, checkpoint signaling, and telomere maintenance. Nbs1 has a conserved C-terminal motif that binds ATM/Tel1, but the full extent and significance of ATM/Tel1 interactions with MRN are unknown. Here, we show that Tel1 overexpression bypasses the requirement for Nbs1 in DNA damage signaling and telomere maintenance. These activities require Mre11-Rad50, which localizes to DSBs and bind Tel1 in the absence of Nbs1. Fusion of the Tel1-binding motif of Nbs1 to Mre11 is sufficient to restore Tel1 signaling in nbs1? cells. Tel1 overexpression does not restore Tel1 signaling in cells carrying the rad50-I1192W mutation, which impairs the ability of Mre11-Rad50 to form the ATP-bound closed conformation. From these findings, we propose that Tel1 has a high-affinity interaction with the C-terminus of Nbs1 and a low-affinity association with Mre11-Rad50, which together accomplish efficient localization and activation of Tel1 at DSBs and telomeres.
Project description:The Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex tethers, processes and signals DNA double-strand breaks, promoting genomic stability. To understand the functional architecture of MRN, we determined the crystal structures of the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Mre11 dimeric catalytic domain alone and in complex with a fragment of Nbs1. Two Nbs1 subunits stretch around the outside of the nuclease domains of Mre11, with one subunit additionally bridging and locking the Mre11 dimer via a highly conserved asymmetrical binding motif. Our results show that Mre11 forms a flexible dimer and suggest that Nbs1 not only is a checkpoint adaptor but also functionally influences Mre11-Rad50. Clinical mutations in Mre11 are located along the Nbs1-interaction sites and weaken the Mre11-Nbs1 interaction. However, they differentially affect DNA repair and telomere maintenance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, potentially providing insight into their different human disease pathologies.
Project description:The human MRN complex is a multisubunit nuclease that is composed of Mre11, Rad50, and Nbs1 and is involved in homologous recombination and DNA damage checkpoints. Mutations of the MRN genes cause genetic disorders such as Nijmegen breakage syndrome. Here we identified a Schizosaccharomyces pombe nbs1(+) homologue by screening for mutants with mutations that caused methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) sensitivity and were synthetically lethal with the rad2Delta mutation. Nbs1 physically interacts with the C-terminal half of Rad32, the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Mre11 homologue, in a yeast two-hybrid assay. nbs1 mutants showed sensitivities to gamma-rays, UV, MMS, and hydroxyurea and displayed telomere shortening similar to the characteristics of rad32 and rad50 mutants. nbs1, rad32, and rad50 mutant cells were elongated and exhibited abnormal nuclear morphology. These findings indicate that S. pombe Nbs1 forms a complex with Rad32-Rad50 and is required for homologous recombination repair, telomere length regulation, and the maintenance of chromatin structure. Amino acid sequence features and some characteristics of the DNA repair function suggest that the S. pombe Rad32-Rad50-Nbs1 complex has functional similarity to the corresponding MRN complexes of higher eukaryotes. Therefore, S. pombe Nbs1 will provide an additional model system for studying the molecular function of the MRN complex associated with genetic diseases.
Project description:Mre11, Rad50, and Nbs1 form an evolutionarily conserved protein complex (Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1, MRN) that has been proposed to function as a DNA damage sensor. Hypomorphic mutations in Mre11 and Nbs1 result in the human ataxia-telangiectasia-like disorder and Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS), respectively. In contrast, complete inactivation of Mre11, Rad50, or Nbs1 leads to early embryonic lethality, suggesting that the hypomorphic mutations may fail to reveal some of the essential functions of MRN. Here, we use Cre-loxP-mediated recombination to restrict Nbs1 deletion to B lymphocytes. We find that disruption of Nbs1 results in the accumulation of high levels of spontaneous DNA damage, impaired proliferation, and chromosomal endoreduplication. Moreover, we show that Ig class-switch recombination (CSR) is diminished in Nbs1-deficient B cells. The CSR defect is B cell-intrinsic, independent of switch-region transcription, and a consequence of inefficient recombination at the DNA level. Our findings reveal that Nbs1 is critical for efficient Ig CSR and maintenance of the integrity of chromosomal structure and number.
Project description:he human MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex plays a crucial role in sensing and repairing DNA DSB. MRE11 possesses 3’-5’ exonuclease and endonuclease activity and forms the core of the multifunctional MRN complex. We previously identified a C-terminally truncated form of MRE11 (TR-MRE11) associated with post-translational MRE11 degradation. Here we identified the approximate cleavage site of TR-MRE11 at 559-580 amino acids, its DNA damage repair function and the factors regulating TR-MRE11 accumulation. The nuclease enzymatic activity of TR-MRE11 was dramatically reduced, associated with a lack of DNA binding efficiency, whilst TR-MRE11 still interacted efficiently with RAD50 and NBS1. Lack of the MRE11 C-terminal resulted in deficient HR repair and increased cellular radiosensitivity. Knockdown of SprT-like N-terminal domain (SPRTN), an essential metalloprotease for DNA-protein crosslink repair, resulted in failure of MRE11 cleavage, with TR-MRE11 protein levels being positively correlated with SPRTN protein expression. The presence of this DNA repair-defective C-terminal truncation could explain the finding of high MRE11 expression, by immunohistochemistry using an antibody against MRE11 prior to the C-terminal, being associated with survival following radical radiotherapy in cancer patients. Ultimately, understanding the functional differences between intact and repair-defective MRE11 may lead to improvements in patient outcomes through a more informed choice of treatment.
Project description:Thermal radiosensitization is believed to be mediated by an inhibition of double-strand break (DSB) repair, but the exact mechanism of radiosensitization remains to be elucidated. Previously, we demonstrated that proteins of the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 complex (MRN) translocate from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in cells have that been heated or heated and then irradiated; this finding led us to propose that heat radiosensitization was due at least in part to translocation of MRN. In the current study, we used leptomycin B to inhibit MRN translocation in heated, irradiated cells, but we found that heat radiosensitization was not altered. Thus enhanced radiosensitivity was not attributed to translocation of MRN proteins. To determine which of the MRN subunits contributed to heat radiosensitization, we compared the extent of heat radiosensitization in wild-type cells with that of cells hypomorphic for Mre11 or Nbs1 or cells in which the level of Rad50 was suppressed. We found that neither Nbs1 nor Rad50 is involved in heat radiosensitization, because a similar amount of heat radiosensitization was observed in cells deficient in those proteins compared to cells expressing normal levels. However, heat radiosensitization was not observed in A-TLD1 cells deficient in Mre11. Measurement of exonuclease activity of purified Mre11 heated at 42.5°C or 45.5°C indicated that the protein is very heat-labile. Immunoprecipitation of Mre11 from heated HeLa cells also revealed that hsp70 associates with Mre11 and that this association is maintained long after heating. Taken together, these findings implicate Mre11 as a target for heat radiosensitization and suggest that heat radiosensitization and inhibition of DSB repair may be mediated by heat-induced conformational changes in Mre11.
Project description:Deregulated AKT kinase activity due to PTEN deficiency in cancer cells contributes to oncogenesis by incompletely understood mechanisms. Here, we show that PTEN deletion in HCT116 and DLD1 colon carcinoma cells leads to suppression of CHK1 and CHK2 activation in response to irradiation, impaired G2 checkpoint proficiency and radiosensitization. These defects are associated with reduced expression of MRE11, RAD50 and NBS1, components of the apical MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) DNA damage response complex. Consistent with reduced MRN complex function, PTEN-deficient cells fail to resect DNA double-strand breaks efficiently after irradiation and show greatly diminished proficiency for DNA repair via the error-free homologous recombination (HR) repair pathway. MRE11 is highly unstable in PTEN-deficient cells but stability can be significantly restored by inhibiting mTORC1 or p70S6 kinase (p70S6K), downstream kinases whose activities are stimulated by AKT, or by mutating a residue in MRE11 that we show is phosphorylated by p70S6K in vitro. In primary human fibroblasts, activated AKT suppresses MRN complex expression to escalate RAS-induced DNA damage and thereby reinforce oncogene-induced senescence. Taken together, our data demonstrate that deregulation of the PI3K-AKT/ mTORC1/ p70S6K pathways, an event frequently observed in cancer, exert profound effects on genome stability via MRE11 with potential implications for tumour initiation and therapy.
Project description:Human MRE11 is a key enzyme in DNA double-strand break repair and genome stability. Human MRE11 bears a glycine-arginine-rich (GAR) motif that is conserved among multicellular eukaryotic species. We investigated how this motif influences MRE11 function. Human MRE11 alone or a complex of MRE11, RAD50, and NBS1 (MRN) was methylated in insect cells, suggesting that this modification is conserved during evolution. We demonstrate that PRMT1 interacts with MRE11 but not with the MRN complex, suggesting that MRE11 arginine methylation occurs prior to the binding of NBS1 and RAD50. Moreover, the first six methylated arginines are essential for the regulation of MRE11 DNA binding and nuclease activity. The inhibition of arginine methylation leads to a reduction in MRE11 and RAD51 focus formation on a unique double-strand break in vivo. Furthermore, the MRE11-methylated GAR domain is sufficient for its targeting to DNA damage foci and colocalization with gamma-H2AX. These studies highlight an important role for the GAR domain in regulating MRE11 function at the biochemical and cellular levels during DNA double-strand break repair.