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PLoS One. 2010 Aug 5;5(8):e11994. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0011994.

NPRL2 sensitizes human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to cisplatin treatment by regulating key components in the DNA repair pathway.

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Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, United States of America.


NPRL2, one of the tumor suppressor genes residing in a 120-kb homozygous deletion region of human chromosome band 3p21.3, has a high degree of amino acid sequence homology with the nitrogen permease regulator 2 (NPR2) yeast gene, and mutations of NPRL2 in yeast cells are associated with resistance to cisplatin-mediated cell killing. Previously, we showed that restoration of NPRL2 in NPRL2-negative and cisplatin-resistant cells resensitize lung cancer cells to cisplatin treatment in vitro and in vivo. In this study, we show that sensitization of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells to cisplatin by NPRL2 is accomplished through the regulation of key components in the DNA-damage checkpoint pathway. NPRL2 can phosphorylate ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) kinase activated by cisplatin and promote downstream gamma-H2AX formation in vitro and in vivo, which occurs during apoptosis concurrently with the initial appearance of high-molecular-weight DNA fragments. Moreover, this combination treatment results in higher Chk1 and Chk2 kinase activity than does treatment with cisplatin alone and can activate Chk2 in pleural metastases tumor xenograft in mice. Activated Chk1 and Chk2 increase the expression of cell cycle checkpoint proteins, including Cdc25A and Cdc25C, leading to higher levels of G2/M arrest in tumor cells treated with NPRL2 and cisplatin than in tumor cells treated with cisplatin only. Our results therefore suggest that ectopic expression of NPRL2 activates the DNA damage checkpoint pathway in cisplatin-resistant and NPRL2-negative cells; hence, the combination of NPRL2 and cisplatin can resensitize cisplatin nonresponders to cisplatin treatment through the activation of the DNA damage checkpoint pathway, leading to cell arrest in the G2/M phase and induction of apoptosis. The direct implication of this study is that combination treatment with NPRL2 and cisplatin may overcome cisplatin resistance and enhance therapeutic efficacy.

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