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Cancer Res. 2006 Sep 15;66(18):9211-20.

Inhibition of hsp90 compromises the DNA damage response to radiation.

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  • 1Molecular Radiation Therapeutics and Radiation Oncology Branches, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland.


Inhibitors of the molecular chaperone Hsp90 have been shown to enhance tumor cell radiosensitivity. To begin to address the mechanism responsible, we have determined the effect of the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-(dimethylaminoethylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17DMAG) on the DNA damage response to radiation. Exposure of MiaPaCa tumor cells to 17DMAG, which results in radiosensitization, inhibited the repair of DNA double-strand breaks according to gammaH2AX foci dispersal and the neutral comet assay. This repair inhibition was associated with reduced DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) phosphorylation after irradiation and a disruption of DNA-PKcs/ErbB1 interaction. These data suggest that the previously established 17DMAG-mediated reduction in ErbB1 activity reduces its interaction with DNA-PKcs and thus accounts for the attenuation of radiation-induced DNA-PK activation. 17DMAG was also found to abrogate the activation of the G(2)- and S-phase cell cycle checkpoints. Associated with these events was a reduction in radiation-induced ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) activation and foci formation in 17DMAG-treated cells. Although no interaction between ATM and Hsp90 was detected, Hsp90 was found to interact with the MRE11/Rad50/NBS1 (MRN) complex. 17DMAG exposure reduced the ability of the MRN components to form nuclear foci after irradiation. Moreover, 17DMAG exposure reduced the interaction between NBS1 and ATM, although no degradation of the MRN complex was detected. These results suggest that the diminished radiation-induced activation of ATM in 17DMAG-treated cells was the result of a compromise in the function of the MRN complex. These data indicate that Hsp90 can contribute to the DNA damage response to radiation affecting both DNA repair and cell cycle checkpoint activation.

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