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J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2019 May 17;38(1):203. doi: 10.1186/s13046-019-1204-1.

Olaparib and ionizing radiation trigger a cooperative DNA-damage repair response that is impaired by depletion of the VRK1 chromatin kinase.

Author information

1
Experimental Therapeutics and Traslational Oncology Program, Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)-Universidad de Salamanca, 37007, Salamanca, Spain.
2
Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Salamanca (IBSAL), Hospital Universitario de Salamanca, 37007, Salamanca, Spain.
3
Experimental Therapeutics and Traslational Oncology Program, Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)-Universidad de Salamanca, 37007, Salamanca, Spain. pedro.lazo@csic.es.
4
Instituto de Investigación Biomédica de Salamanca (IBSAL), Hospital Universitario de Salamanca, 37007, Salamanca, Spain. pedro.lazo@csic.es.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The VRK1 chromatin kinase regulates the organization of locally altered chromatin induced by DNA damage. The combination of ionizing radiation with inhibitors of DNA damage responses increases the accumulation of DNA damage in cancer cells, which facilitates their antitumor effect, a process regulated by VRK1.

METHODS:

Tumor cell lines with different genetic backgrounds were treated with olaparib to determine their effect on the activation of DNA repair pathways induced by ionizing radiation. The effect of combining olaparib with depletion of the chromatin kinase VRK1 was studied in the context of double-strand breaks repair pathway after treatment with ionizing radiation. The initiation and progression of DDR were studied by specific histone acetylation, as a marker of local chromatin relaxation, and formation of γH2AX and 53BP1 foci.

RESULTS:

In this work, we have studied the effect that VRK1 by itself or in collaboration with olaparib, an inhibitor of PARP, has on the DNA oxidative damage induced by irradiation in order to identify its potential as a new drug target. The combination of olaparib and ionizing radiation increases DNA damage permitting a significant reduction of their respective doses to achieve a similar amount of DNA damage detected by γH2AX and 53BP1 foci. Different treatment combinations of olaparib and ionizing radiation permitted to reach the maximum level of DNA damage at lower doses of both treatments. Furthermore, we have studied the effect that depletion of the VRK1 chromatin kinase, a regulator of DDR, has on this response. VRK1 knockdown impaired all steps in the DDR induced by these treatments, which were detected by a reduction of sequential markers such as H4K16 ac, γH2AX, NBS1 and 53BP1. Moreover, this effect of VRK1 is independent of TP53 or ATM, two genes frequently mutated in cancer.

CONCLUSION:

The protective DNA damage response induced by ionizing radiation is impaired by the combination of olaparib with depletion of VRK1, and can be used to reduce doses of radiation and their associated toxicity. Proteins implicated in DNA damage responses are suitable targets for development of new therapeutic strategies and their combination can be an alternative form of synthetic lethality.

KEYWORDS:

53BP1; DNA repair; H2AX; Histone H4; Ionizing radiation; NBS1; Olaparib; VRK1; Vaccinia-related kinase 1

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