A P53-Independent DNA Damage Response Suppresses Oncogenic Proliferation and Genome Instability.
ABSTRACT: The Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 complex is a DNA double-strand break sensor that mediates a tumor-suppressive DNA damage response (DDR) in cells undergoing oncogenic stress, yet the mechanisms underlying this effect are poorly understood. Using a genetically inducible primary mammary epithelial cell model, we demonstrate that Mre11 suppresses proliferation and DNA damage induced by diverse oncogenic drivers through a p53-independent mechanism. Breast tumorigenesis models engineered to express a hypomorphic Mre11 allele exhibit increased levels of oncogene-induced DNA damage, R-loop accumulation, and chromosomal instability with a characteristic copy number loss phenotype. Mre11 complex dysfunction is identified in a subset of human triple-negative breast cancers and is associated with increased sensitivity to DNA-damaging therapy and inhibitors of ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3 related (ATR) and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Thus, deficiencies in the Mre11-dependent DDR drive proliferation and genome instability patterns in p53-deficient breast cancers and represent an opportunity for therapeutic exploitation.
Project description:The DNA damage response (DDR) is activated by oncogenic stress, but the mechanisms by which this occurs, and the particular DDR functions that constitute barriers to tumorigenesis, remain unclear. We established a mouse model of sporadic oncogene-driven breast tumorigenesis in a series of mutant mouse strains with specific DDR deficiencies to reveal a role for the Mre11 complex in the response to oncogene activation. We demonstrate that an Mre11-mediated DDR restrains mammary hyperplasia by effecting an oncogene-induced G2 arrest. Impairment of Mre11 complex functions promotes the progression of mammary hyperplasias into invasive and metastatic breast cancers, which are often associated with secondary inactivation of the Ink4a-Arf (CDKN2a) locus. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of DDR engagement by activated oncogenes and highlight genetic interactions between the DDR and Ink4a-Arf pathways in suppression of oncogene-driven tumorigenesis and metastasis.
Project description:Proline-, glutamic acid- and leucine-rich protein-1 (PELP1) is a scaffolding oncogenic protein that functions as a coregulator for a number of nuclear receptors. p53 is an important transcription factor and tumor suppressor that has a critical role in DNA damage response (DDR) including cell cycle arrest, repair or apoptosis. In this study, we found an unexpected role for PELP1 in modulating p53-mediated DDR. PELP1 is phosphorylated at Serine1033 by various DDR kinases like ataxia-telangiectasia mutated, ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related or DNAPKc and this phosphorylation of PELP1 is important for p53 coactivation functions. PELP1-depleted p53 (wild-type) breast cancer cells were less sensitive to various genotoxic agents including etoposide, camptothecin or γ-radiation. PELP1 interacts with p53, functions as p53-coactivator and is required for optimal activation of p53 target genes under genomic stress. Overall, these studies established a new role of PELP1 in DDRs and these findings will have future implications in our understanding of PELP1's role in cancer progression.
Project description:MRE11 is a component of the MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex, whose activity is essential to control faithful DNA replication and to prevent accumulation of deleterious DNA double-strand breaks. In humans, hypomorphic mutations in these genes lead to DNA damage response (DDR)-defective and cancer-prone syndromes. Moreover, MRN complex dysfunction dramatically affects the nervous system, where MRE11 is required to restrain MYCN-dependent replication stress, during the rapid expansion of progenitor cells. MYCN activation, often due to genetic amplification, represents the driving oncogenic event for a number of human tumors, conferring bad prognosis and predicting very poor responses even to the most aggressive therapeutic protocols. This is prototypically exemplified by neuroblastoma, where MYCN amplification occurs in about 25% of the cases. Intriguingly, MRE11 is highly expressed and predicts bad prognosis in MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma. Due to the lack of direct means to target MYCN, we explored the possibility to trigger intolerable levels of replication stress-dependent DNA damage, by inhibiting MRE11 in MYCN-amplified preclinical models. Indeed, either MRE11 knockdown or its pharmacological inhibitor mirin induce accumulation of replication stress and DNA damage biomarkers in MYCN-amplified cells. The consequent DDR recruits p53 and promotes a p53-dependent cell death, as indicated by p53 loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Encapsulation of mirin in nanoparticles allowed its use on MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma xenografts in vivo, which resulted in a sharp impairment of tumor growth, associated with DDR activation, p53 accumulation, and cell death. Therefore, we propose that MRE11 inhibition might be an effective strategy to treat MYCN-amplified and p53 wild-type neuroblastoma, and suggest that targeting replication stress with appropriate tools should be further exploited to tackle MYCN-driven tumors.
Project description:Hepatitis B virus X protein (pX), implicated in hepatocarcinogenesis, induces DNA damage because of re-replication and allows propagation of damaged DNA, resulting in partial polyploidy and oncogenic transformation. The mechanism by which pX allows cells with DNA damage to continue proliferating is unknown. Herein, we show pX activates Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) in the G(2) phase, thereby attenuating the DNA damage checkpoint. Specifically, in the G(2) phase of pX-expressing cells, the checkpoint kinase Chk1 was inactive despite DNA damage, and protein levels of claspin, an adaptor of ataxia telangiectasia-mutated and Rad3-related protein-mediated Chk1 phosphorylation, were reduced. Pharmacologic inhibition or knockdown of Plk1 restored claspin protein levels, Chk1 activation, and p53 stabilization. Also, protein levels of DNA repair protein Mre11 were decreased in the G(2) phase of pX-expressing cells but not with Plk1 knockdown. Interestingly, in pX-expressing cells, Mre11 co-immunoprecipitated with transfected Plk1 Polo-box domain, and inhibition of Plk1 increased Mre11 stability in cycloheximide-treated cells. These results suggest that pX-activated Plk1 by down-regulating Mre11 attenuates DNA repair. Importantly, concurrent inhibition of Plk1, p53, and Mre11 increased the number of pX-expressing cells with DNA damage entering mitosis, relative to Plk1 inhibition alone. By contrast, inhibition or knockdown of Plk1 reduced pX-induced polyploidy while increasing apoptosis. We conclude Plk1, activated by pX, allows propagation of DNA damage by concurrently attenuating the DNA damage checkpoint and DNA repair, resulting in polyploidy. We propose this novel Plk1 mechanism initiates pX-mediated hepatocyte transformation.
Project description:Two major mechanisms have been causally implicated in the establishment of cellular senescence: the activation of the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway and the formation of senescence-associated heterochromatic foci (SAHF). Here we show that in human fibroblasts resistant to premature p16(INK4a) induction, SAHF are preferentially formed following oncogene activation but are not detected during replicative cellular senescence or on exposure to a variety of senescence-inducing stimuli. Oncogene-induced SAHF formation depends on DNA replication and ATR (ataxia telangiectasia and Rad3-related). Inactivation of ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated) or p53 allows the proliferation of oncogene-expressing cells that retain increased heterochromatin induction. In human cancers, levels of heterochromatin markers are higher than in normal tissues, and are independent of the proliferative index or stage of the tumours. Pharmacological and genetic perturbation of heterochromatin in oncogene-expressing cells increase DDR signalling and lead to apoptosis. In vivo, a histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) causes heterochromatin relaxation, increased DDR, apoptosis and tumour regression. These results indicate that heterochromatin induced by oncogenic stress restrains DDR and suggest that the use of chromatin-modifying drugs in cancer therapies may benefit from the study of chromatin and DDR status of tumours.
Project description:The Mre11 complex (Mre11, Rad50, and Nbs1) and Chk2 have been implicated in the DNA-damage response, an inducible process required for the suppression of malignancy. The Mre11 complex is predominantly required for repair and checkpoint activation in S phase, whereas Chk2 governs apoptosis. We examined the relationship between the Mre11 complex and Chk2 in the DNA-damage response via the establishment of Nbs1(DeltaB/DeltaB) Chk2(-/-) and Mre11(ATLD1/ATLD1) Chk2(-/-) mice. Chk2 deficiency did not modify the checkpoint defects or chromosomal instability of Mre11 complex mutants; however, the double-mutant mice exhibited synergistic defects in DNA-damage-induced p53 regulation and apoptosis. Nbs1(DeltaB/DeltaB) Chk2(-/-) and Mre11(ATLD1/ATLD1) Chk2(-/-) mice were also predisposed to tumors. In contrast, DNA-PKcs-deficient mice, in which G1-specific chromosome breaks are present, did not exhibit synergy with Chk2(-/-) mutants. These data suggest that Chk2 suppresses the oncogenic potential of DNA damage arising during S and G2 phases of the cell cycle.
Project description:The oncogene Mdmx is overexpressed in many human malignancies, and together with Mdm2, negatively regulates the p53 tumor suppressor. However, a p53-independent function of Mdmx that impacts genome stability has been described, but this function is not well understood. In the present study, we determined that of the 13 different cancer types evaluated, 6-90% of those that had elevated levels of Mdmx had concurrent inactivation (mutated or deleted) of p53. We show elevated levels of Mdmx-inhibited double-strand DNA break repair and induced chromosome and chromatid breaks independent of p53, leading to genome instability. Mdmx impaired early DNA damage-response signaling, such as phosphorylation of the serine/threonine-glutamine motif, mediated by the ATM kinase. Moreover, we identified Mdmx associated with Nbs1 of the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) DNA repair complex, and this association increased upon DNA damage and was detected at chromatin. Elevated Mdmx levels also increased cellular transformation in a p53-independent manner. Unexpectedly, all Mdmx-mediated phenotypes also occurred in cells lacking Mdm2 and were independent of the Mdm2-binding domain (RING) of Mdmx. Therefore, Mdmx-mediated inhibition of the DNA damage response resulted in delayed DNA repair and increased genome instability and transformation independent of p53 and Mdm2. Our results reveal a novel p53- and Mdm2-independent oncogenic function of Mdmx that provides new insight into the many cancers that overexpress Mdmx.
Project description:The maintenance of genome stability is critical for the suppression of diverse human pathologies that include developmental disorders, premature aging, infertility and predisposition to cancer. The DNA damage response (DDR) orchestrates the appropriate cellular responses following the detection of lesions to prevent genomic instability. The MRE11 complex is a sensor of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and plays key roles in multiple aspects of the DDR, including DNA end resection that is critical for signaling and DNA repair. The MRE11 complex has been shown to function both upstream and in concert with the 5'-3' exonuclease EXO1 in DNA resection, but it remains unclear to what extent EXO1 influences DSB responses independently of the MRE11 complex. Here we examine the genetic relationship of the MRE11 complex and EXO1 during mammalian development and in response to DNA damage. Deletion of Exo1 in mice expressing a hypomorphic allele of Nbs1 leads to severe developmental impairment, embryonic death and chromosomal instability. While EXO1 plays a minimal role in normal cells, its loss strongly influences DNA replication, DNA repair, checkpoint signaling and damage sensitivity in NBS1 hypomorphic cells. Collectively, our results establish a key role for EXO1 in modulating the severity of hypomorphic MRE11 complex mutations.
Project description:UNLABELLED:The Mre11 complex (Mre11, Rad50, and Nbs1) occupies a central node of the DNA damage response (DDR) network and is required for ATM activation in response to DNA damage. Hypomorphic alleles of MRE11 and NBS1 confer embryonic lethality in ATM-deficient mice, indicating that the complex exerts ATM-independent functions that are essential when ATM is absent. To delineate those functions, a conditional ATM allele (ATM(flox)) was crossed to hypomorphic NBS1 mutants (Nbs1(?B/?B) mice). Nbs1(?B/?B) Atm(-/-) hematopoietic cells derived by crossing to vav(cre) were viable in vivo. Nbs1(?B/?B) Atm(-/-) (VAV) mice exhibited a pronounced defect in double-strand break repair and completely penetrant early onset lymphomagenesis. In addition to repair defects observed, fragile site instability was noted, indicating that the Mre11 complex promotes genome stability upon replication stress in vivo. The data suggest combined influences of the Mre11 complex on DNA repair, as well as the responses to DNA damage and DNA replication stress. IMPLICATIONS:A novel mouse model was developed, by combining a vav(cre)-inducible ATM knockout mouse with an NBS1 hypomorphic mutation, to analyze ATM-independent functions of the Mre11 complex in vivo. These data show that the DNA repair, rather than DDR signaling functions of the complex, is acutely required in the context of ATM deficiency to suppress genome instability and lymphomagenesis.
Project description:Central to the recognition, signaling, and repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex and mediator of DNA damage checkpoint protein 1 (MDC1), the interplay of which is essential for initiation and amplification of the DNA damage response (DDR). The intrinsic rule governing the regulation of the function of this molecular machinery remains to be investigated. We report here that the ubiquitin-specific protease USP7 was physically associated with the MRN-MDC1 complex and that the MRN-MDC1 complex acted as a platform for USP7 to efficiently deubiquitinate and stabilize MDC1, thereby sustaining the DDR. Accordingly, depletion of USP7 impaired the engagement of the MRN-MDC1 complex and the consequent recruitment of the downstream factors p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1) and breast cancer protein 1 (BRCA1) at DNA lesions. Significantly, USP7 was overexpressed in cervical cancer, and the level of its expression positively correlated with that of MDC1 and worse survival rates for patients with cervical cancer. We demonstrate that USP7-mediated MDC1 stabilization promoted cervical cancer cell survival and conferred cellular resistance to genotoxic insults. Together, our study reveals a role for USP7 in regulating the function of the MRN-MDC1 complex and activity of the DDR, supporting the pursuit of USP7 as a potential therapeutic target for MDC1-proficient cancers.