DNA-PKcs kinase activity stabilizes the transcription factor Egr1 in activated immune cells.
ABSTRACT: DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) is known primarily for its function in DNA double-stranded break repair and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). However, DNA-PKcs also has a critical yet undefined role in immunity impacting both myeloid and lymphoid cell lineages spurring interest in targeting DNA-PKcs for therapeutic strategies in immune-related diseases. To gain insight into the function of DNA-PKcs within immune cells, we performed a quantitative phosphoproteomic screen in T cells to identify phosphorylation targets of DNA-PKcs. Our results indicate that DNA-PKcs phosphorylates the transcription factor Egr1 (early growth response protein 1) at serine 301. Expression of Egr1 is induced early upon T cell activation and dictates T cell response by modulating expression of cytokines and key costimulatory molecules such as IL (interleukin) 2, IL6, IFNγ,and NFκB.Inhibition of DNA-PKcs by treatment with a DNA-PKcs specific inhibitor NU7441 or shRNA knockdown increased proteasomal degradation of Egr1. Mutation of serine 301 to alanine via CRISPR-Cas9 reduced EGR1 protein expression and decreased Egr1-dependent transcription of IL2 in activated T cells. Our findings identify DNA-PKcs as a critical intermediary link between T cell activation and T cell fate, and a novel phosphosite involved in regulating Egr1 activity.
Project description:To gain insight into the function of DNA-PKcs within immune cells, we performed a quantitative phosphoproteomic screen in T cells to identify first order phosphorylation targets of DNA-PKcs. Results indicate that DNA-PKcs phosphorylates the transcription factor Egr1 (early growth response protein 1) at S301. Expression of Egr1 is induced early upon T cell activation and dictates T cell response by modulating expression of cytokines and key costimulatory molecules. Mutation of serine 301 to alanine via CRISPR-Cas9 resulted in increased proteasomal degradation of Egr1 and a decrease in Egr1-dependent transcription of IL2 (interleukin-2) in activated T cells. Our findings identify DNA-PKcs as a critical intermediary link between T cell activation and T cell fate and a novel phosphosite involved in regulating Egr1 activity.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Recent studies have highlighted the contribution of senescent mesenchymal and epithelial cells in Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), but little is known regarding the molecular mechanisms that regulate the accumulation of senescent cells in this disease. Therefore, we addressed the hypothesis that the loss of DNA repair mechanisms mediated by DNA protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) in IPF, promoted the accumulation of mesenchymal progenitors and progeny, and the expression of senescent markers by these cell types. METHODS:Surgical lung biopsy samples and lung fibroblasts were obtained from patients exhibiting slowly, rapidly or unknown progressing IPF and lung samples lacking any evidence of fibrotic disease (i.e. normal; NL). The expression of DNA-Pkcs in lung tissue was assessed by quantitative immunohistochemical analysis. Chronic inhibition of DNA-PKcs kinase activity was mimicked using a highly specific small molecule inhibitor, Nu7441. Proteins involved in DNA repair (stage-specific embryonic antigen (SSEA)-4+ cells) were determined by quantitative Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of transcriptomic datasets (GSE103488). Lastly, the loss of DNA-PKc was modeled in a humanized model of pulmonary fibrosis in NSG SCID mice genetically deficient in PRKDC (the transcript for DNA-PKcs) and treated with Nu7441. RESULTS:DNA-PKcs expression was significantly reduced in IPF lung tissues. Chronic inhibition of DNA-PKcs by Nu7441 promoted the proliferation of SSEA4+ mesenchymal progenitor cells and a significant increase in the expression of senescence-associated markers in cultured lung fibroblasts. Importantly, mesenchymal progenitor cells and their fibroblast progeny derived from IPF patients showed a loss of transcripts encoding for DNA damage response and DNA repair components. Further, there was a significant reduction in transcripts encoding for PRKDC (the transcript for DNA-PKcs) in SSEA4+ mesenchymal progenitor cells from IPF patients compared with normal lung donors. In SCID mice lacking DNA-PKcs activity receiving IPF lung explant cells, treatment with Nu7441 promoted the expansion of progenitor cells, which was observed as a mass of SSEA4+ CgA+ expressing cells. CONCLUSIONS:Together, our results show that the loss of DNA-PKcs promotes the expansion of SSEA4+ mesenchymal progenitors, and the senescence of their mesenchymal progeny.
Project description:The current standard of care for lung cancer consists of concurrent chemotherapy and radiation. Several studies have shown that the DNA-PKcs inhibitor NU7441 is a highly potent radiosensitizer, however, the mechanism of NU7441's anti-proliferation effect has not been fully elucidated. In this study, the combined effect of NU7441 and ionizing radiation (IR) in a panel of non-small cell lung cancer cell lines (A549, H460 and H1299) has been investigated. We found that NU7441 significantly enhances the effect of IR in all cell lines. The notable findings in response to this combined treatment are (i) prolonged delay in IR-induced DNA DSB repair, (ii) induced robust G2/M checkpoint, (iii) increased aberrant mitosis followed by mitotic catastrophe specifically in H1299, (iv) dramatically induced autophagy in A549 and (v) IR-induced senescence specifically in H460. H1299 cells show greater G2 checkpoint adaptation after combined treatment, which can be attributed to higher expression level of Plk1 compared to A549 and H460. The enhanced autophagy after NU7441 treatment in A549 is possibly due to the higher endogenous expression of pS6K compared to H1299 and H460 cells. In conclusion, choice of cell death pathway is dependent on the mutation status and other genetic factors of the cells treated.
Project description:Radiation therapy (RT) is an effective strategy for the treatment of localized prostate cancer (PCa) as well as local invasion. However, some locally advanced cancers develop radiation resistance and recur after therapy; therefore, the development of radiation-sensitizing compounds is essential for treatment of these tumors. DOC-2/DAB2 interactive protein (DAB2IP), which is a novel member of the Ras-GTPase activating protein family and a regulator of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt activity, is often downregulated in aggressive PCa. Our previous studies have shown that loss of DAB2IP results in radioresistance in PCa cells primarily because of accelerated DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair kinetics, robust G(2)/M checkpoint control, and evasion of apoptosis. A novel DNA-PKcs inhibitor NU7441 can significantly enhance the effect of radiation in DAB2IP-deficient PCa cells. This enhanced radiation sensitivity after NU7441 treatment is primarily due to delayed DNA DSB repair. More significantly, we found that DAB2IP-deficient PCa cells show dramatic induction of autophagy after treatment with radiation and NU7441. However, restoring DAB2IP expression in PCa cells resulted in decreased autophagy-associated proteins, such as LC3B and Beclin 1, as well as decreased phosphorylation of S6K and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Furthermore, the presence of DAB2IP in PCa cells can lead to more apoptosis in response to combined treatment of NU7441 and ionizing radiation. Taken together, NU7441 is a potent radiosensitizer in aggressive PCa cells and DAB2IP plays a critical role in enhancing PCa cell death after combined treatment with NU7441 and radiation.
Project description:DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) is a distinct factor in the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway involved in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. We examined the crosstalk between key proteins in the DSB NHEJ repair pathway and cell cycle regulation and found that mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells deficient in DNA-PKcs or Ku70 were more vulnerable to ionizing radiation (IR) compared with wild-type cells and that DSB repair was delayed. ?H2AX was associated with phospho-Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated kinase (Ser1987) and phospho-checkpoint effector kinase 1 (Ser345) foci for the arrest of cell cycle through the G2/M phase. Inhibition of DNA-PKcs prolonged IR-induced G2/M phase arrest because of sequential activation of cell cycle checkpoints. DSBs were introduced, and cell cycle checkpoints were recruited after exposure to IR in nasopharyngeal carcinoma SUNE-1 cells. NU7441 radiosensitized MEF cells and SUNE-1 cells by interfering with DSB repair. Together, these results reveal a mechanism in which coupling of DSB repair with the cell cycle radiosensitizes NHEJ repair-deficient cells, justifying further development of DNA-PK inhibitors in cancer therapy.
Project description:Non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) and homologous recombination (HR) are the two prominent pathways responsible for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). NHEJ is not restricted to a cell-cycle stage, whereas HR is active primarily in the S/G2 phases suggesting there are cell cycle-specific mechanisms that play a role in the choice between NHEJ and HR. Here we show NHEJ is attenuated in S phase via modulation of the autophosphorylation status of the NHEJ factor DNA-PKcs at serine 2056 by the pro-HR factor BRCA1. BRCA1 interacts with DNA-PKcs in a cell cycle-regulated manner and this interaction is mediated by the tandem BRCT domain of BRCA1, but surprisingly in a phospho-independent manner. BRCA1 attenuates DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation via directly blocking the ability of DNA-PKcs to autophosphorylate. Subsequently, blocking autophosphorylation of DNA-PKcs at the serine 2056 phosphorylation cluster promotes HR-required DNA end processing and loading of HR factors to DSBs and is a possible mechanism by which BRCA1 promotes HR.
Project description:BACKGROUND:DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are the most cytotoxic form of DNA damage and are induced by ionizing radiation and specific chemotherapeutic agents, such as topoisomerase inhibitors. Cancer cells acquire resistance to such therapies by repairing DNA DSBs. A major pathway for the repair of DNA DSBs is non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), which requires DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity. In this study, we investigated the effect of NU7441, a synthetic small-molecule compound, as a specific inhibitor of DNA-PK on the chemosensitization of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) A549 cells. METHODS:The combined effects of chemotherapeutic agents and NU7441 were evaluated by isobologram analysis using Cell Counting Kit-8. DNA DSBs were assessed by immunofluorescence assay. Apoptosis was examined by flow cytometry using an Annexin V apoptosis kit. Activation of DNA-PK was assayed by western blotting. RESULTS:The combination of NU7441 and topoisomerase inhibitors such as amrubicin and irinotecan had a synergistic effect on cell proliferation in A549 cells. NU7441 increased 53BP1 foci and apoptosis induced by topoisomerase inhibitors and decreased phospho-DNA-dependent protein kinase, catalytic subunit (pDNA-PKcs) (S2056) protein expression caused by topoisomerase inhibitors. Interestingly, mitotic inhibitors such as pacritaxel did not cause the pDNA-PKcs (S2056) protein expression and the combination of NU7441 and pacritaxel had an only additive effect. CONCLUSION:NU7441 inhibited the growth of NSCLC cells and enhanced the chemosensitization to topoisomerase inhibitors by blocking DNA repair. A combination of NU7441 and topoisomerase inhibitor may be a promising treatment for NSCLC.
Project description:The EGF receptor (EGFR) contributes to tumor radioresistance, in part, through interactions with the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKc), a key enzyme in the nonhomologous end joining DNA repair pathway. We previously showed that EGFR-DNA-PKcs interactions are significantly compromised in the context of activating mutations in EGFR in non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and human bronchial epithelial cells. Here, we investigate the reciprocal relationship between phosphorylation status of DNA-PKcs and EGFR-mediated radiation response. The data reveal that both the kinase activity of DNA-PKcs and radiation-induced phosphorylation of DNA-PKcs by the ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) kinase are critical prerequisites for EGFR-mediated radioresponse. Alanine substitutions at seven key serine/threonine residues in DNA-PKcs or inhibition of DNA-PKcs by NU7441 completely abrogated EGFR-mediated radioresponse and blocked EGFR binding. ATM deficiency or ATM inhibition with KU55933 produced a similar effect. Importantly, alanine substitution at an ATM-dependent DNA-PKcs phosphorylation site, T2609, was sufficient to block binding or radioresponse of EGFR. However, mutation of a DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation site, S2056 had no such effect indicating that DNA-PKcs autophosphorylation is not necessary for EGFR-mediated radioresponse. Our data reveal that in both NSCLCs and human bronchial epithelial cells, activating mutations in EGFR specifically abolished the DNA-PKcs phosphorylation at T2609, but not S2056. Our study underscores the critical importance of a reciprocal relationship between DNA-PKcs phosphorylation and EGFR-mediated radiation response and elucidates mechanisms underlying mutant EGFR-associated radiosensitivity in NSCLCs.
Project description:Etoposide (VP-16) is used for the treatment of various cancers, including nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC); however, cancers develop resistance to this agent by promoting DNA repair. The DNA-PK (DNA-PKcs) catalytic subunit and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) mediate acquired resistance and poor survival in NPC cells exposed to DNA damaging agents. DNA repair can alter the sensitivity of NPC cells to DNA damaging agents, and these two enzymes function concomitantly in response to DNA damage <i>in vivo</i>. Therefore, we explored the relationship between DNA-PKcs and PARP1, which may affect NPC cell survival by regulating DNA repair after VP-16 treatment. We performed quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, western blotting, and enzyme-linked immunoassays and found that DNA-PKcs knockdown downregulated the PARP1 and PAR expression. Conversely, PARP1 knockdown reduced DNA-PKcs activity, indicating the mutual regulation between DNA-PKcs and PARP1 in VP-16-induced DNA repair. Moreover, a combination treatment with olaparib (a PARP1 inhibitor) and NU7441 (a DNA-PKcs inhibitor) sensitized NPC cells to VP-16 <i>in vitro</i> and <i>in vivo</i>, suggesting that the combined treatment of olaparib, NU7441, and a DNA-damaging agent may be a successful treatment regimen in patients with NPC.
Project description:The αNAC (alpha chain of the Nascent polypeptide-Associated Complex) transcriptional coregulator is developmentally expressed in osteoblasts and regulates osteoblast differentiation in vitro and in vivo. αNAC can activate or repress gene transcription, a function that is dynamically regulated by post-translational modification. Phosphorylation of residue Ser132 stimulates the sumoylation of αNAC on Lys127 to repress gene expression. Using in vitro kinase assays, we show that Ser132 phosphorylation is mediated by the DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs). Pharmacological inhibition of DNA-PKcs kinase activity or gene silencing of Prkdc (encoding DNA-PKcs) in murine osteoblastic MC3T3-E1 cells and human adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal cells markedly enhanced osteogenesis and the expression of osteoblast differentiation marker genes. ChIP-seq identified Ezh2 as a target of the αNAC/DNA-PKcs signaling pathway. Mechanistically, inhibition of DNA-PKcs repressed Ezh2 expression, induced cell cycle block, and increased osteogenesis by significantly enhancing the bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) response in osteoblasts and other mesenchymal cells. Importantly, in vivo inhibition of the kinase enhanced bone biomechanical properties, and bones from osteoblast-specific conditional Prkdc-knockout mice exhibited increased stiffness. In conclusion, DNA-PKcs is a negative regulator of osteoblast differentiation, and therefore DNA-PKcs inhibitors may have therapeutic potential for bone regeneration and metabolic bone diseases. Overall design: MC3T3-E1 cells were grown in αMEM (Gibco) supplemented with 10% FBS (Gibco) to confluency, followed by a treatment with either NU7441 (1 μM) (Selleckchem) or DMSO (Sigma) for 16h. Cells were harvested, and total RNA was isolated using mRNeasy Mini Kit (Qiagen) according to the manufacturer's protocol. Triplicates from each of the three independent experiments were pooled together, quantified, and assessed by RNA-Seq