bims-numges Biomed News
on Nucleotide metabolism and genome stability
Issue of 2020‒12‒27
twelve papers selected by
Sean Rudd
Karolinska Institutet

  1. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2020 Dec 11. 3(6): 1225-1232
      Nucleosides and their analogues constitute an essential family of anticancer drugs. DNA has been the presumptive target of the front-line prodrug for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), cytarabine (ara-C), since the 1980s. Here, the biomolecular targeting of ara-C was evaluated in primary white blood cells using the ara-C mimic "AzC" and azide-alkyne "click" reactions. Fluorescent staining and microscopy revealed that metabolic incorporation of AzC into primary white blood cells was unexpectedly enhanced by the DNA polymerase inhibitor aphidicholine. According to RNaseH digestion and pull-down-and-release experiments, AzC was incorporated into short RNA fragments bound to DNA in peripheral blood monocytes (PBMCs) collected from all six healthy human donors tested. Samples from 22 AML patients (French-American-British classes M4 and M5) exhibited much more heterogeneity, with 27% incorporating AzC into RNA and 55% into DNA. The overall survival of AML patients whose samples incorporated AzC into RNA was approximately 3-fold higher as compared to that of the DNA cohort (p ≤ 0.056, χ2 = 3.65). These results suggest that the RNA primers of DNA synthesis are clinically favorable targets of ara-C, and that variable incorporation of nucleoside drugs into DNA versus RNA may enable future patient stratification into treatment-specific subgroups.
  2. ACS Pharmacol Transl Sci. 2020 Dec 11. 3(6): 1242-1252
      The dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (DHODH) inhibitor brequinar failed all clinical trials for solid tumors. To investigate mechanisms to increase brequinar's efficacy, we employed a combination strategy to simultaneously inhibit the nucleotide salvage pathways. Brequinar is synergistic with the equilibrative nucleoside transporter (ENT) inhibitor dipyridamole, but not the concentrative nucleoside transporter inhibitor phlorizin. This synergy carries over to ENT1/2 inhibition, but not ENT4. Our previously described brequinar analogue 41 was also synergistic with dipyridamole as were the FDA-approved DHODH inhibitors leflunomide and teriflunomide but the latter required much higher concentrations than brequinar. Therefore, a combination of brequinar and ENT inhibitors presents a potential anti-cancer strategy in select tumors.
  3. Biomed Res Int. 2020 ;2020 5197626
      Equilibrative nucleoside transporter 2 (ENT2) is a bidirectional transporter embedded in the biological membrane and is ubiquitously found in most tissue and cell types. ENT2 mediates the uptake of purine and pyrimidine nucleosides and nucleobase besides transporting a variety of nucleoside-derived drugs, mostly in anticancer therapy. Since high expression of ENT2 has been correlated with advanced stages of different types of cancers, consequently, this has gained significant interest in the role of ENT2 as a potential therapeutic target. Furthermore, ENT2 plays critical roles in signaling pathway and cell cycle progression. Therefore, elucidating the physiological roles of ENT2 and its properties may contribute to a better understanding of ENT2 roles beyond their transportation mechanism. This review is aimed at highlighting the main roles of ENT2 and at providing a brief update on the recent research.
  4. Mol Cell. 2020 Dec 15. pii: S1097-2765(20)30827-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      In tumors, nutrient availability and metabolism are known to be important modulators of growth signaling. However, it remains elusive whether cancer cells that are growing out in the metastatic niche rely on the same nutrients and metabolic pathways to activate growth signaling as cancer cells within the primary tumor. We discovered that breast-cancer-derived lung metastases, but not the corresponding primary breast tumors, use the serine biosynthesis pathway to support mTORC1 growth signaling. Mechanistically, pyruvate uptake through Mct2 supported mTORC1 signaling by fueling serine biosynthesis-derived α-ketoglutarate production in breast-cancer-derived lung metastases. Consequently, expression of the serine biosynthesis enzyme PHGDH was required for sensitivity to the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin in breast-cancer-derived lung tumors, but not in primary breast tumors. In summary, we provide in vivo evidence that the metabolic and nutrient requirements to activate growth signaling differ between the lung metastatic niche and the primary breast cancer site.
    Keywords:  MCT2; PHGDH; breast cancer; lung environment; mTORC1; metastasis formation; pyruvate; serine biosynthesis; α-ketoglutarate
  5. Cancer Genet. 2020 Dec 09. pii: S2210-7762(20)30291-X. [Epub ahead of print]252-253 6-24
      Cancer genome instability arises from diverse defects in DNA-repair machinery, which make cancer cells more susceptible to DNA targeting agents. The interrelation between DNA repair deficiency and the increased effect of DNA targeting agents highlights the double-strand break (DSB) repair, which comprises the homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathways. The DNA targeting agents are classified into two major groups: non-covalent DNA binding agents and covalent DNA-reactive agents. Although these agents have well-known limitations, such as resistance and secondary carcinogenesis risk, they are extremely important in today's real-life cancer therapy in combination with targeted therapy and immunotherapy. Indeed, DNA targeting drugs are promising therapeutics with a precise application through the background of cancer-specific DNA repair failure. In the current review, the mechanisms of action of diversified DNA-targeting agents, as well as the modulation of DNA repair pathways to increase the DNA-damaging drugs efficacy are presented. Finally, DNA-targeting-based therapies are discussed considering risks, resistance and its uses in the medicine precision era.
    Keywords:  Cancer; Carcinogenesis; Chemotherapy; DNA damage; DNA repair
  6. Expert Opin Ther Pat. 2020 Dec 21.
      INTRODUCTION: DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) plays a crucial role in the repair of DSBs via non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). Several DNA-PK inhibitors are being investigated for potential anticancer treatment in clinical trials.AREA COVERED: This review aims to give an overview of patents published since 2010 aiming to analyze the patent space and structure features of scaffolds used in those patents. It also discusses the recent clinical developments and provides perspectives on future challenges and directions of developing DNA-PK inhibitor drugs for cancer treatment.
    EXPERT OPINION: As a key component of the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, DNA-PK appears to be a viable drug target for anticancer therapy. The clinical investigation of a DNA-PK inhibitor employs both a monotherapy and a combination strategy. In the combination strategy, a DNA-PK inhibitor is typically combined with a DSB inducer, radiation, a chemotherapy agent, or a PARP inhibitor etc. Patent analyses suggest that diverse structures comprising different scaffolds from mono- heteroaryl to bicyclic heteroaryl to tricyclic heteroaryl are capable to achieve good DNA-PK inhibitory activity and good DNA-PK selectivity over other closely related enzymes. Several DNA-PK inhibitors are currently being evaluated in clinics, with the hope to get approval in the near future.
    Keywords:  DNA damage response (DDR); DNA double strand breaks (DSBs); DNA-PK; cancer therapy; inhibitor; patent review
  7. J Cell Biol. 2021 Jan 04. pii: e202003148. [Epub ahead of print]220(1):
      The DNA damage response (DDR) has a critical role in the maintenance of genomic integrity during chromosome replication. However, responses to replication stress evoked by tight DNA-protein complexes have not been fully elucidated. Here, we used bacterial LacI protein binding to lacO arrays to make site-specific replication fork barriers on the human chromosome. These barriers induced the accumulation of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) and various DDR proteins at the lacO site. SLX4-XPF functioned as an upstream factor for the accumulation of DDR proteins, and consequently, ATR and FANCD2 were interdependently recruited. Moreover, LacI binding in S phase caused underreplication and abnormal mitotic segregation of the lacO arrays. Finally, we show that the SLX4-ATR axis represses the anaphase abnormality induced by LacI binding. Our results outline a long-term process by which human cells manage nucleoprotein obstacles ahead of the replication fork to prevent chromosomal instability.
  8. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Dec 21. pii: gkaa1222. [Epub ahead of print]
      Chromosome stability is primarily determined by telomere length. TRF1 is the core subunit of shelterin that plays a critical role in telomere organization and replication. However, the dynamics of TRF1 in scenarios of telomere-processing activities remain elusive. Using single-molecule magnetic tweezers, we here investigated the dynamics of TRF1 upon organizing a human telomere and the protein-DNA interactions at a moving telomeric fork. We first developed a method to obtain telomeres from human cells for directly measuring the telomere length by single-molecule force spectroscopy. Next, we examined the compaction and decompaction of a telomere by TRF1 dimers. TRF1 dissociates from a compacted telomere with heterogenous loops in ∼20 s. We also found a negative correlation between the number of telomeric loops and loop sizes. We further characterized the dynamics of TRF1 at a telomeric DNA fork. With binding energies of 11 kBT, TRF1 can modulate the forward and backward steps of DNA fork movements by 2-9 s at a critical force of F1/2, temporarily maintaining the telomeric fork open. Our results shed light on the mechanisms of how TRF1 organizes human telomeres and facilitates the efficient replication of telomeric DNA. Our work will help future research on the chemical biology of telomeres and shelterin-targeted drug discovery.
  9. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Dec 22. pii: gkaa1224. [Epub ahead of print]
      Repair of covalent DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) by the metalloprotease SPRTN prevents genome instability, premature aging and carcinogenesis. SPRTN is specifically activated by DNA structures containing single- and double-stranded features, but degrades the protein components of DPCs promiscuously and independent of amino acid sequence. This lack of specificity is useful to target diverse protein adducts, however, it requires tight control in return, in order to prohibit uncontrolled proteolysis of chromatin proteins. Here, we discover the components and principles of a ubiquitin switch, which negatively regulates SPRTN. We demonstrate that monoubiquitylation is induced in an E3 ligase-independent manner and, in contrast to previous assumptions, does not control chromatin access of the enzyme. Data obtained in cells and in vitro reveal that monoubiquitylation induces inactivation of the enzyme by triggering autocatalytic cleavage in trans while also priming SPRTN for proteasomal degradation in cis. Finally, we show that the deubiquitylating enzyme USP7 antagonizes this negative control of SPRTN in the presence of DPCs.
  10. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Dec 21. pii: gkaa1219. [Epub ahead of print]
      An abnormally high rate of UV-light related mutations appears at transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) across melanomas. The binding of transcription factors (TFs) to the DNA impairs the repair of UV-induced lesions and certain TFs have been shown to increase the rate of generation of these lesions at their binding sites. However, the precise contribution of these two elements to the increase in mutation rate at TFBS in these malignant cells is not understood. Here, exploiting nucleotide-resolution data, we computed the rate of formation and repair of UV-lesions within the binding sites of TFs of different families. We observed, at certain dipyrimidine positions within the binding site of TFs in the Tryptophan Cluster family, an increased rate of formation of UV-induced lesions, corroborating previous studies. Nevertheless, across most families of TFs, the observed increased mutation rate within the entire DNA region covered by the protein results from the decreased repair efficiency. While the rate of mutations across all TFBS does not agree with the amount of UV-induced lesions observed immediately after UV exposure, it strongly agrees with that observed after 48 h. This corroborates the determinant role of the impaired repair in the observed increase of mutation rate.
  11. Nat Protoc. 2020 Dec 21.
      DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are implicated in various physiological processes, such as class-switch recombination or crossing-over during meiosis, but also present a threat to genome stability. Extensive evidence shows that DSBs are a primary source of chromosome translocations or deletions, making them a major cause of genomic instability, a driving force of many diseases of civilization, such as cancer. Therefore, there is a great need for a precise, sensitive, and universal method for DSB detection, to enable both the study of their mechanisms of formation and repair as well as to explore their therapeutic potential. We provide a detailed protocol for our recently developed ultrasensitive and genome-wide DSB detection method: immobilized direct in situ breaks labeling, enrichment on streptavidin and next-generation sequencing (i-BLESS), which relies on the encapsulation of cells in agarose beads and labeling breaks directly and specifically with biotinylated linkers. i-BLESS labels DSBs with single-nucleotide resolution, allows detection of ultrarare breaks, takes 5 d to complete, and can be applied to samples from any organism, as long as a sufficient amount of starting material can be obtained. We also describe how to combine i-BLESS with our qDSB-Seq approach to enable the measurement of absolute DSB frequencies per cell and their precise genomic coordinates at the same time. Such normalization using qDSB-Seq is especially useful for the evaluation of spontaneous DSB levels and the estimation of DNA damage induced rather uniformly in the genome (e.g., by irradiation or radiomimetic chemotherapeutics).
  12. DNA Repair (Amst). 2020 Nov 12. pii: S1568-7864(20)30283-4. [Epub ahead of print]97 103023
      Double strand break (DSB) repair through Homologous Recombination (HR) is essential in maintaining genomic stability of the cell. Mutations in the HR pathway confer an increased risk for breast, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer. PARP inhibitors (PARPi) are compounds that specifically target tumours deficient in HR. Novel PARPi are constantly being developed, but research is still heavily focussed on in vitro data, with mouse xenografts only being used in late stages of development. There is a need for assays that can: 1) provide in vivo data, 2) early in the development process of novel PARPi, 3) provide fast results and 4) at an affordable cost. Here we propose a combination of in vivo zebrafish assays to accurately quantify PARP inhibitor efficacy. We showed that PARPi display functional effects in zebrafish, generally correlating with their PARP trapping capacities. Furthermore, we displayed how olaparib mediated radiosensitization is conserved in our zebrafish model. These assays could aid the development of novel PARPi by providing early in vivo data. In addition, using zebrafish allows for high-throughput testing of combination therapies in search of novel treatment strategies.
    Keywords:  Homologous Recombination; Irradiation; PARP inhibitor; Zebrafish