Gene Summary

Gene:MRE11A; MRE11 meiotic recombination 11 homolog A (S. cerevisiae)
Aliases: ATLD, HNGS1, MRE11, MRE11B
Summary:This gene encodes a nuclear protein involved in homologous recombination, telomere length maintenance, and DNA double-strand break repair. By itself, the protein has 3' to 5' exonuclease activity and endonuclease activity. The protein forms a complex with the RAD50 homolog; this complex is required for nonhomologous joining of DNA ends and possesses increased single-stranded DNA endonuclease and 3' to 5' exonuclease activities. In conjunction with a DNA ligase, this protein promotes the joining of noncomplementary ends in vitro using short homologies near the ends of the DNA fragments. This gene has a pseudogene on chromosome 3. Alternative splicing of this gene results in two transcript variants encoding different isoforms. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:double-strand break repair protein MRE11A
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
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Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 2015 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Risk Factors
  • Breast Cancer
  • RecQ Helicases
  • p53 Protein
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Cancer DNA
  • Young Adult
  • Genomic Instability
  • Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated Proteins
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Telomere
  • DNA Repair Enzymes
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Transfection
  • DNA Repair
  • Genetic Recombination
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Ovarian Cancer
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA Damage
  • Ultraviolet Rays
  • Cell Survival
  • Chromosome 11
  • Taiwan
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Genotype
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum
  • Tumor Markers
  • Mutation
  • Double-Stranded DNA Breaks
  • Rabbits
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Phosphorylation
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: MRE11A (cancer-related)

Hoxha M, Fabris S, Agnelli L, et al.
Relevance of telomere/telomerase system impairment in early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2014; 53(7):612-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several studies have proposed telomere length and telomerase activity as prognostic factors in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), whereas information addressing the role of telomere-associated genes is limited. We measured relative telomere length (RTL) and TERT expression levels in purified peripheral CD19(+) B-cells from seven healthy donors and 77 untreated CLLs in early stage disease (Binet A). Data were correlated with the major biological and cytogenetic markers, global DNA methylation (Alu and LINE-1), and clinical outcome. The expression profiles of telomere-associated genes were also investigated. RTL was decreased in CLLs as compared with controls (P < 0.001); within CLL, a progressive and significant RTL shortening was observed in patients from 13q- through +12, 11q-, and 17p- alterations; short telomeres were significantly associated with unmutated IGHV configuration and global DNA hypomethylation. Decreased RTL was associated with a shorter time to first treatment. A significant upregulation of POT1, TRF1, RAP1, MRE11A, RAD50, and RPA1 transcript levels was observed in CLLs compared with controls. Our study suggests that impairment of telomere/telomerase system represents an early event in CLL pathogenesis. Moreover, the correlation between telomere shortening and global DNA hypomethylation supports the involvement of DNA hypomethylation to increase chromosome instability. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Hornhardt S, Rößler U, Sauter W, et al.
Genetic factors in individual radiation sensitivity.
DNA Repair (Amst). 2014; 16:54-65 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer risk and radiation sensitivity are often associated with alterations in DNA repair, cell cycle, or apoptotic pathways. Interindividual variability in mutagen or radiation sensitivity and in cancer susceptibility may also be traced back to polymorphisms of genes affecting e.g. DNA repair capacity. We studied possible associations between 70 polymorphisms of 12 DNA repair genes with basal and initial DNA damage and with repair thereof. We investigated DNA damage induced by ionizing radiation in lymphocytes isolated from 177 young lung cancer patients and 169 cancer-free controls. We also sought replication of our findings in an independent sample of 175 families (in total 798 individuals). DNA damage was assessed by the Olive tail moment (OTM) of the comet assay. DNA repair capacity (DRC) was determined for 10, 30 and, 60min of repair. Genes involved in the single-strand-repair pathway (SSR; like XRCC1 and MSH2) as well as genes involved in the double-strand-repair pathway (DSR; like RAD50, XRCC4, MRE11 and ATM) were found to be associated with DNA damage. The most significant association was observed for marker rs3213334 (p=0.005) of XRCC1 with basal DNA damage (B), in both cases and controls. A clear additive effect on the logarithm of OTM was identified for the marker rs1001581 of the same LD-block (p=0.039): BCC=-1.06 (95%-CI: -1.16 to -0.96), BCT=-1.02 (95%-CI: -1.11 to -0.93) and BTT=-0.85 (95%-CI: -1.01 to -0.68). In both cases and controls, we observed significantly higher DNA basal damage (p=0.007) for carriers of the genotype AA of marker rs2237060 of RAD50 (involved in DSR). However, this could not be replicated in the sample of families (p=0.781). An alteration to DRC after 30min of repair with respect to cases was observed as borderline significant for marker rs611646 of ATM (involved in DSR; p=0.055), but was the most significant finding in the sample of families (p=0.009). Our data indicate that gene variation impacts measurably on DNA damage and repair, suggesting at least a partial contribution to radiation sensitivity and lung cancer susceptibility.

Martin RM, Kerr M, Teo MT, et al.
Post-transcriptional regulation of MRE11 expression in muscle-invasive bladder tumours.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(4):993-1003 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Predictive assays are needed to help optimise treatment in muscle-invasive bladder cancer, where patients can be treated by either cystectomy or radical radiotherapy. Our finding that low tumour MRE11 expression is predictive of poor response to radiotherapy but not cystectomy was recently independently validated. Here we investigated further the mechanism underlying low MRE11 expression seen in poorly-responding patients. MRE11 RNA and protein levels were measured in 88 bladder tumour patient samples, by real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry respectively, and a panel of eight bladder cancer cell lines was screened for MRE11, RAD50 and NBS1 mRNA and protein expression. There was no correlation between bladder tumour MRE11 protein and RNA scores (Spearman's rho 0.064, p=0.65), suggesting MRE11 is controlled post-transcriptionally, a pattern confirmed in eight bladder cancer cell lines. In contrast, NBS1 and RAD50 mRNA and protein levels were correlated (p=0.01 and p=0.03, respectively), suggesting primary regulation at the level of transcription. MRE11 protein levels were correlated with NBS1 and RAD50 mRNA and protein levels, implicating MRN complex formation as an important determinant of MRE11 expression, driven by RAD50 and NBS1 expression. Our findings of the post-transcriptional nature of the control of MRE11 imply that any predictive assays used in patients need to be performed at the protein level rather than the mRNA level.

Teo MT, Dyrskjøt L, Nsengimana J, et al.
Next-generation sequencing identifies germline MRE11A variants as markers of radiotherapy outcomes in muscle-invasive bladder cancer.
Ann Oncol. 2014; 25(4):877-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Muscle-invasive bladder cancer (MIBC) can be cured by radical radiotherapy (RT). We previously found tumour MRE11 expression to be predictive of survival following RT in MIBC, and this was independently validated in a separate institute. Here, we investigated germline MRE11A variants as possible predictors of RT outcomes in MIBC, using next-generation sequencing (NGS).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: The MRE11A gene was amplified in germline DNA from 186 prospectively recruited MIBC patients treated with RT and sequenced using bar-coded multiplexed NGS. Germline variants were analysed for associations with cancer-specific survival (CSS). For validation as a prognostic or predictive marker, rs1805363 was then genotyped in a cystectomy-treated MIBC cohort of 256 individuals. MRE11A mRNA isoform expression was measured in bladder cancer cell lines and primary tumour samples.
RESULTS: Carriage of at least one of six (five novel) rare variants was associated with the worse RT outcome (hazard ratio [HR] 4.04, 95% confidence interval [95% CI] 1.42-11.51, P = 0.009). The single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), rs1805363 (minor allele frequency 11%), was also associated with worse CSS (per-allele HR 2.10, 95% CI 1.34-3.28, Ptrend = 0.001) following RT in MIBC, with a gene-dosage effect observed, but no effect seen on CSS in the cystectomy cohort (Ptrend = 0.89). Furthermore, rs1805363 influenced relative MRE11A isoform expression, with increased isoform 2 expression with carriage of the rs1805363 minor A allele.
CONCLUSIONS: Germline MRE11A SNP rs1805363 was predictive of RT, but not of cystectomy outcome in MIBC. If successfully validated in an independent RT-treated cohort, this SNP could be a useful clinical tool for selecting patients for bladder-conserving treatment.

Watanabe Y, Maeda I, Oikawa R, et al.
Aberrant DNA methylation status of DNA repair genes in breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant chemotherapy.
Genes Cells. 2013; 18(12):1120-30 [PubMed] Related Publications
Dysregulation of homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair has been implicated in breast carcinogenesis and chemosensitivity. Here, we investigated the methylation status of sixteen HR genes and analyzed their association with tumor subtypes and responses to neoadjuvant chemotherapy. Core specimens were obtained before neoadjuvant chemotherapy from sixty cases of primary breast cancer of the following four subgroups: luminal breast cancer (LBC) with pathological complete response (pCR), LBC with stable disease, triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) with pCR and TNBC with poor response. The aberrant DNA methylation status of the following HR related-genes was analyzed using bisulfite-pyrosequencing: BRCA1, BRCA2, BARD1, MDC1, RNF8, RNF168, UBC13, ABRA1, PALB2, RAD50, RAD51, RAD51C, MRE11, NBS1, CtIP and ATM. Among the genes analyzed, only the incidence of BRCA1 and RNF8 methylation was significantly higher in TNBC than that in LBC. Whereas the incidence of BRCA1 methylation was tended to be higher in pCR cases than in poor-response cases in TNBC, that of RNF8 was significantly lower in pCR cases than in poor-response cases. Our results indicate that the methylation status of HR genes was not generally associated with TNBC subtype or chemosensitivity although hypermethylation of BRCA1 is associated with TNBC subtype and may impact chemosensitivity.

Tahara M, Inoue T, Sato F, et al.
The use of Olaparib (AZD2281) potentiates SN-38 cytotoxicity in colon cancer cells by indirect inhibition of Rad51-mediated repair of DNA double-strand breaks.
Mol Cancer Ther. 2014; 13(5):1170-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
Potent application of topoisomerase I inhibitor plus PARP inhibitor has been suggested to be an effective strategy for cancer therapy. Reportedly, mismatch repair (MMR)-deficient colon cancer cells are sensitive to topoisomerase I inhibitor, presumably due to microsatellite instability (MSI) of the MRE11 locus. We examined the synergy of SN-38, an active metabolite of irinotecan, in combination with the PARP inhibitor olaparib in colon cancer cells showing different MMR status, such as MSI or microsatellite stable (MSS) phenotype. Treatment with SN-38 and olaparib in combination almost halved the IC50 of SN-38 for a broad spectrum of colon cancer cells independent of the MMR status. Furthermore, olaparib potentiated S-phase-specific double-strand DNA breaks (DSB) induced by SN-38, which is followed by Rad51 recruitment. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Rad51, but not Mre11 or Rad50, increased the sensitivity to olaparib and/or SN-38 treatment in colon cancer cells. In vivo study using mouse xenograft demonstrated that olaparib was effective to potentiate the antitumor effect of irinotecan. In conclusion, olaparib shows a synergistic effect in colon cancer cells in combination with SN-38 or irinotecan, potentiated by the Rad51-mediated HR pathway, irrespective of the Mre11-mediated failure of the MRN complex. These results may contribute to future clinical trials using PARP inhibitor plus topoisomerase I inhibitor in combination. Furthermore, the synergistic effect comprising topoisomerase I-mediated DNA breakage-reunion reaction, PARP and Rad51-mediated HR pathway suggests the triple synthetic lethal pathways contribute to this event and are applicable as a potential target for future chemotherapy.

Rouhani M, Goliaei B, Khodagholi F, Nikoofar A
Antimanic drug sensitizes breast cancer cell line to ionizing radiation.
Gen Physiol Biophys. 2014; 33(2):235-42 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer among women. Lithium chloride (LiCl) is an FDA-approved drug for bipolar disorder. Breast cancer is reported to occur with higher rate in women with bipolar disorder. The effect of LiCl on the response of breast cancer cells to ionizing radiation has not been studied. We studied the effect of LiCl on the radiosensitivity of radioresistant T47D breast cancer cell line. Treatment of T47D cells with 20 mM LiCl for 24 hours decreased the radioresistance of these cells indicated by clonogenic survival assay. Comet assay demonstrated decreased DNA repair in LiCl-treated cells. LiCl treatment also decreased the meiotic recombination 11 (Mre11) mRNA level. Mre11 is an essential protein for DNA repair whose transcription is regulated by β-catenin protein. Western blot analysis indicated that the β-catenin protein level was decreased in LiCl-treated cells. LiCl increased glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) protein that is involved in β-catenin degradation. The results demonstrated that LiCl could radiosensitize T47D cells by decreasing DNA repair, partially through Mre11 repression. GSK-3β/β-catenin/Mre11 pathway might be the connection between LiCl treatment and the decreased DNA repair in T47D cells.

El-Saghire H, Vandevoorde C, Ost P, et al.
Intensity modulated radiotherapy induces pro-inflammatory and pro-survival responses in prostate cancer patients.
Int J Oncol. 2014; 44(4):1073-83 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) is one of the modern conformal radiotherapies that is widely used within the context of cancer patient treatment. It uses multiple radiation beams targeted to the tumor, however, large volumes of the body receive low doses of irradiation. Using γ-H2AX and global genome expression analysis, we studied the biological responses induced by low doses of ionizing radiation in prostate cancer patients following IMRT. By means of different bioinformatics analyses, we report that IMRT induced an inflammatory response via the induction of viral, adaptive, and innate immune signaling. In response to growth factors and immune-stimulatory signaling, positive regulation in the progression of cell cycle and DNA replication were induced. This denotes pro-inflammatory and pro-survival responses. Furthermore, double strand DNA breaks were induced in every patient 30 min after the treatment and remaining DNA repair and damage signaling continued after 18-24 h. Nine genes belonging to inflammatory responses (TLR3, SH2D1A and IL18), cell cycle progression (ORC4, SMC2 and CCDC99) and DNA damage and repair (RAD17, SMC6 and MRE11A) were confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR. This study emphasizes that the risk assessment of health effects from the out-of-field low doses during IMRT should be of concern, as these may increase the risk of secondary cancers and/or systemic inflammation.

Lin ZP, Ratner ES, Whicker ME, et al.
Triapine disrupts CtIP-mediated homologous recombination repair and sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to PARP and topoisomerase inhibitors.
Mol Cancer Res. 2014; 12(3):381-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
UNLABELLED: PARP inhibitors exploit synthetic lethality to target epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) with hereditary BRCA mutations and defects in homologous recombination repair (HRR). However, such an approach is limited to a small subset of EOC patients and compromised by restored HRR due to secondary mutations in BRCA genes. Here, it was demonstrated that triapine, a small-molecule inhibitor of ribonucleotide reductase, enhances the sensitivity of BRCA wild-type EOC cells to the PARP inhibitor olaparib and the topoisomerase II inhibitor etoposide. Triapine abolishes olaparib-induced BRCA1 and Rad51 foci, and disrupts the BRCA1 interaction with the Mre11-Rad50-Nbs1 (MRN) complex in BRCA1 wild-type EOC cells. It has been shown that phosphorylation of CtIP (RBBP8) is required for the interaction with BRCA1 and with MRN to promote DNA double-strand break (DSB) resection during S and G(2) phases of the cell cycle. Mechanistic studies within reveal that triapine inhibits cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) activity and blocks olaparib-induced CtIP phosphorylation through Chk1 activation. Furthermore, triapine abrogates etoposide-induced CtIP phosphorylation and DSB resection as evidenced by marked attenuation of RPA32 phosphorylation. Concurrently, triapine obliterates etoposide-induced BRCA1 foci and sensitizes BRCA1 wild-type EOC cells to etoposide. Using a GFP-based HRR assay, it was determined that triapine suppresses HRR activity induced by an I-SceI-generated DSB. These results suggest that triapine augments the sensitivity of BRCA wild-type EOC cells to drug-induced DSBs by disrupting CtIP-mediated HRR.
IMPLICATIONS: These findings provide a strong rationale for combining triapine with PARP or topoisomerase inhibitors to target HRR-proficient EOC cells.

Wang Y, Hong Y, Li M, et al.
Mutation inactivation of Nijmegen breakage syndrome gene (NBS1) in hepatocellular carcinoma and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(12):e82426 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) with NBS1 germ-line mutation is a human autosomal recessive disease characterized by genomic instability and enhanced cancer predisposition. The NBS1 gene codes for a protein, Nbs1(p95/Nibrin), involved in the processing/repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a complex and heterogeneous tumor with several genomic alterations. Recent studies have shown that heterozygous NBS1 mice exhibited a higher incidence of HCC than did wild-type mice. The objective of the present study is to assess whether NBS1 mutations play a role in the pathogenesis of human primary liver cancer, including HBV-associated HCC and intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (ICC). Eight missense NBS1 mutations were identified in six of 64 (9.4%) HCCs and two of 18 (11.1%) ICCs, whereas only one synonymous mutation was found in 89 control cases of cirrhosis and chronic hepatitis B. Analysis of the functional consequences of the identified NBS1 mutations in Mre11-binding domain showed loss of nuclear localization of Nbs1 partner Mre11, one of the hallmarks for Nbs1 deficiency, in one HCC and two ICCs with NBS1 mutations. Moreover, seven of the eight tumors with NBS1 mutations had at least one genetic alteration in the TP53 pathway, including TP53 mutation, MDM2 amplification, p14ARF homozygous deletion and promoter methylation, implying a synergistic effect of Nbs1 disruption and p53 inactivation. Our findings provide novel insight on the molecular pathogenesis of primary liver cancer characterized by mutation inactivation of NBS1, a DNA repair associated gene.

Pennington KP, Walsh T, Harrell MI, et al.
Germline and somatic mutations in homologous recombination genes predict platinum response and survival in ovarian, fallopian tube, and peritoneal carcinomas.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(3):764-75 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: Hallmarks of germline BRCA1/2-associated ovarian carcinomas include chemosensitivity and improved survival. The therapeutic impact of somatic BRCA1/2 mutations and mutations in other homologous recombination DNA repair genes is uncertain.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Using targeted capture and massively parallel genomic sequencing, we assessed 390 ovarian carcinomas for germline and somatic loss-of-function mutations in 30 genes, including BRCA1, BRCA2, and 11 other genes in the homologous recombination pathway.
RESULTS: Thirty-one percent of ovarian carcinomas had a deleterious germline (24%) and/or somatic (9%) mutation in one or more of the 13 homologous recombination genes: BRCA1, BRCA2, ATM, BARD1, BRIP1, CHEK1, CHEK2, FAM175A, MRE11A, NBN, PALB2, RAD51C, and RAD51D. Nonserous ovarian carcinomas had similar rates of homologous recombination mutations to serous carcinomas (28% vs. 31%, P = 0.6), including clear cell, endometrioid, and carcinosarcoma. The presence of germline and somatic homologous recombination mutations was highly predictive of primary platinum sensitivity (P = 0.0002) and improved overall survival (P = 0.0006), with a median overall survival of 66 months in germline homologous recombination mutation carriers, 59 months in cases with a somatic homologous recombination mutation, and 41 months for cases without a homologous recombination mutation.
CONCLUSIONS: Germline or somatic mutations in homologous recombination genes are present in almost one third of ovarian carcinomas, including both serous and nonserous histologies. Somatic BRCA1/2 mutations and mutations in other homologous recombination genes have a similar positive impact on overall survival and platinum responsiveness as germline BRCA1/2 mutations. The similar rate of homologous recombination mutations in nonserous carcinomas supports their inclusion in PARP inhibitor clinical trials.

McPherson LA, Shen Y, Ford JM
Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor LT-626: Sensitivity correlates with MRE11 mutations and synergizes with platinums and irinotecan in colorectal cancer cells.
Cancer Lett. 2014; 343(2):217-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
Some colorectal cancers (CRC) display microsatellite instability (MSI) leading to mutations in genes such as MRE11. The aim of this study was to determine whether MSI or MRE11 mutational status correlates with sensitivity to the PARP inhibitor LT-626 and whether LT-626 synergizes with DNA-damaging chemotherapeutic agents. CRC cells harboring biallelic MRE11 mutations were more sensitive to LT-626 and stable overexpression or knock-down of MRE11 in cell lines correlated with sensitivity. Synergism was evident between LT-626 and cisplatin, oxaliplatin and SN-38 suggesting that PARP inhibitors in combination with DNA damaging agents may be a successful strategy for treatment of CRC.

Gupta GP, Vanness K, Barlas A, et al.
The Mre11 complex suppresses oncogene-driven breast tumorigenesis and metastasis.
Mol Cell. 2013; 52(3):353-65 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
The DNA damage response (DDR) is activated by oncogenic stress, but the mechanisms by which this occurs, and the particular DDR functions that constitute barriers to tumorigenesis, remain unclear. We established a mouse model of sporadic oncogene-driven breast tumorigenesis in a series of mutant mouse strains with specific DDR deficiencies to reveal a role for the Mre11 complex in the response to oncogene activation. We demonstrate that an Mre11-mediated DDR restrains mammary hyperplasia by effecting an oncogene-induced G2 arrest. Impairment of Mre11 complex functions promotes the progression of mammary hyperplasias into invasive and metastatic breast cancers, which are often associated with secondary inactivation of the Ink4a-Arf (CDKN2a) locus. These findings provide insight into the mechanism of DDR engagement by activated oncogenes and highlight genetic interactions between the DDR and Ink4a-Arf pathways in suppression of oncogene-driven tumorigenesis and metastasis.

Mosor M, Ziółkowska-Suchanek I, Nowicka K, et al.
Germline variants in MRE11/RAD50/NBN complex genes in childhood leukemia.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:457 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The MRE11, RAD50, and NBN genes encode proteins of the MRE11-RAD50-NBN (MRN) complex involved in cellular response to DNA damage and the maintenance of genome stability. In our previous study we showed that the germline p.I171V mutation in NBN may be considered as a risk factor in the development of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and some specific haplotypes of that gene may be associated with childhood leukemia. These findings raise important questions about the role of mutations in others genes of the MRN complex in childhood leukemia. The aim of this study was to answer the question whether MRE11 and RAD50 alterations may be associated with childhood ALL or AML.
METHODS: We estimated the frequency of constitutional mutations and polymorphisms in selected regions of MRE11, RAD50, and NBN in the group of 220 children diagnosed with childhood leukemias and controls (n=504/2200). The analysis was performed by specific amplification of region of interest by PCR and followed by multi-temperature single-strand conformation polymorphism (PCR-MSSCP) technique. We performed two molecular tests to examine any potential function of the detected the c.551+19G>A SNP in RAD50 gene. To our knowledge, this is the first analysis of the MRE11, RAD50 and NBN genes in childhood leukemia.
RESULTS: The frequency of either the AA genotype or A allele of RAD50_rs17166050 were significantly different in controls compared to leukemia group (ALL+AML) (p<0.0019 and p<0.0019, respectively). The cDNA analysis of AA or GA genotypes carriers has not revealed evidence of splicing abnormality of RAD50 pre-mRNA. We measured the allelic-specific expression of G and A alleles at c.551+19G>A and the statistically significant overexpression of the G allele has been observed. Additionally we confirmed the higher incidence of the p.I171V mutation in the leukemia group (7/220) than among controls (12/2400) (p<0.0001).
CONCLUSION: The formerly reported sequence variants in the RAD50 and MRE11 gene may not constitute a risk factor of childhood ALL in Polish population. The RAD50_rs17166050 variant allele is linked to decreased ALL risk (p<0.0009, OR=0.6358 (95%CI: 0.4854-0.8327)). Despite the fact that there is no splicing abnormality in carriers of the variant allele but an excess of the G over the A allele was consistently observed. This data demonstrate that some specific alternations of the RAD50 gene may be associated with childhood ALL.

Ziółkowska-Suchanek I, Mosor M, Wierzbicka M, et al.
The MRN protein complex genes: MRE11 and RAD50 and susceptibility to head and neck cancers.
Mol Cancer. 2013; 12(1):113 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The members of MRE11/RAD50/NBN (MRN) protein complex participates in DNA double-strand break repair and DNA-damage checkpoint activation. We have previously shown that the p.I171V NBN gene mutation may contribute to the development of laryngeal cancer. This study tested the hypothesis that variants of the MRE11 and RAD50 genes, previously described as cancer risk factors, predispose to increased susceptibility to head and neck cancer.
FINDINGS: In this study we analyzed the RAD50 and MRE11 genes in 358 patients: 175 with a single laryngeal cancer (LC), 115 with multiple primary tumors but one malignancy (primary or second) localized in the larynx (MPT-LC), 68 patients with multiple primary tumors localized in the head or neck (MPT) and 506 controls. No carriers of previously reported mutation in the MRE11 or RAD50 gene (particularly the pathogenic c.687delT) were detected in the present study. We identified the p.V127I variant (2/175 LC, 2/506 controls; OR=2.91; 95% CI 0.41-20.85) and p.V315L variant (2/115 MPT-LC, 1/506 controls; OR=8.96; 95% CI 0.81-99.68) of the RAD50 gene.
CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicated that previously described common genetic variations in the MRE11 and RAD50 genes do not contribute to an increased risk of laryngeal cancer and second primary tumors localized in the head and neck. Prospective studies with larger groups of patients may reveal the possible impact of these genes in tumor occurrence.

Štorcelová M, Vicián M, Reis R, et al.
Expression of cell cycle regulatory factors hus1, gadd45a, rb1, cdkn2a and mre11a correlates with expression of clock gene per2 in human colorectal carcinoma tissue.
Mol Biol Rep. 2013; 40(11):6351-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulated expression of clock gene per2 has previously been associated with progression of cancer. The aim of the present study was to identify genes related to per2 expression and involved in cell cycle control. Patients surgically treated for colorectal carcinoma with up-regulated and down-regulated per2 expression in cancer versus adjacent tissue were studied. Total RNA from cancer tissue of these patients was used to specify genes associated with altered per2 expression using the Human Cell Cycle RT(2) profiler PCR array system. We identified seven genes positively correlated (hus1, gadd45α, rb1, cdkn2a, cdk5rp1, mre11a, sumo1) and two genes negatively correlated (cdc20, birc5) with per2 expression. Expression of these seven genes was subsequently measured by real time PCR in all patients of the cohort. Patients were divided into three groups according to TNM classification. We observed an increase in gene expression in cancer tissue compared to adjacent tissue in the first group of patients in all genes measured. Expression of genes positively associated with per2 gene expression was dependent on tumor staging and changes were observed preferentially in cancer tissue. For genes negatively associated with per2 expression we also detected changes in expression dependent on tumor staging. Expression of cdc20 and birc5 was increasing in the proximal tissue and decreasing in the cancer tissue. These results implicate functional involvement of per2 in the process of carcinogenesis via newly uncovered genes. The relevancy of gene expression for determination of diagnosis and prognosis should be considered in relation to tumor staging.

Birkenkamp-Demtröder K, Hahn SA, Mansilla F, et al.
Keratin23 (KRT23) knockdown decreases proliferation and affects the DNA damage response of colon cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(9):e73593 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Keratin 23 (KRT23) is strongly expressed in colon adenocarcinomas but absent in normal colon mucosa. Array based methylation profiling of 40 colon samples showed that the promoter of KRT23 was methylated in normal colon mucosa, while hypomethylated in most adenocarcinomas. Promoter methylation correlated with absent expression, while increased KRT23 expression in tumor samples correlated with promoter hypomethylation, as confirmed by bisulfite sequencing. Demethylation induced KRT23 expression in vitro. Expression profiling of shRNA mediated stable KRT23 knockdown in colon cancer cell lines showed that KRT23 depletion affected molecules of the cell cycle and DNA replication, recombination and repair. In vitro analyses confirmed that KRT23 depletion significantly decreased the cellular proliferation of SW948 and LS1034 cells and markedly decreased the expression of genes involved in DNA damage response, mainly molecules of the double strand break repair homologous recombination pathway. KRT23 knockdown decreased the transcript and protein expression of key molecules as e.g. MRE11A, E2F1, RAD51 and BRCA1. Knockdown of KRT23 rendered colon cancer cells more sensitive to irradiation and reduced proliferation of the KRT23 depleted cells compared to irradiated control cells.

Regal JA, Festerling TA, Buis JM, Ferguson DO
Disease-associated MRE11 mutants impact ATM/ATR DNA damage signaling by distinct mechanisms.
Hum Mol Genet. 2013; 22(25):5146-59 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) can lead to instability of the genome if not repaired correctly. The MRE11/RAD50/NBS1 (MRN) complex binds DSBs and initiates damage-induced signaling cascades via activation of the ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ataxia-telangiectasia- and rad3-related (ATR) kinases. Mutations throughout MRE11 cause ataxia-telangiectasia-like disorder (ATLD) featuring cerebellar degeneration, and cancer-predisposition in certain kindreds. Here, we have examined the impact on DNA damage signaling of several disease-associated MRE11A alleles to gain greater understanding of the mechanisms underlying the diverse disease sequelae of ATLD. To this end, we have designed a system whereby endogenous wild-type Mre11a is conditionally deleted and disease-associated MRE11 mutants are stably expressed at physiologic levels. We find that mutations in the highly conserved N-terminal domain impact ATM signaling by perturbing both MRE11 interaction with NBS1 and MRE11 homodimerization. In contrast, an inherited allele in the MRE11 C-terminus maintains MRN interactions and ATM/ATR kinase activation. These findings reveal that ATLD patients have reduced ATM activation resulting from at least two distinct mechanisms: (i) N-terminal mutations destabilize MRN interactions, and (ii) mutation of the extreme C-terminus maintains interactions but leads to low levels of the complex. The N-terminal mutations were found in ATLD patients with childhood cancer; thus, our studies suggest a clinically relevant dichotomy in MRE11A alleles. More broadly, these studies underscore the importance of understanding specific effects of hypomorphic disease-associated mutations to achieve accurate prognosis and appropriate long-term medical surveillance.

Mahdi KM, Nassiri MR, Nasiri K
Hereditary genes and SNPs associated with breast cancer.
Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2013; 14(6):3403-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women affecting up to one third of tehm during their lifespans. Increased expression of some genes due to polymorphisms increases the risk of breast cancer incidence. Since mutations that are recognized to increase breast cancer risk within families are quite rare, identification of these SNPs is very important. The most important loci which include mutations are; BRCA1, BRCA2, PTEN, ATM, TP53, CHEK2, PPM1D, CDH1, MLH1, MRE11, MSH2, MSH6, MUTYH, NBN, PMS1, PMS2, BRIP1, RAD50, RAD51C, STK11 and BARD1. Presence of SNPs in these genes increases the risk of breast cancer and associated diagnostic markers are among the most reliable for assessing prognosis of breast cancer. In this article we reviewed the hereditary genes of breast cancer and SNPs associated with increasing the risk of breast cancer that were recently were reported from candidate gene, meta-analysis and GWAS studies. SNPs of genes associated with breast cancer can be used as a potential tool for improving cancer diagnosis and treatment planning.

Price JC, Pollock LM, Rudd ML, et al.
Sequencing of candidate chromosome instability genes in endometrial cancers reveals somatic mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A.
PLoS One. 2014; 8(6):e63313 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Most endometrial cancers can be classified histologically as endometrioid, serous, or clear cell. Non-endometrioid endometrial cancers (NEECs; serous and clear cell) are the most clinically aggressive of the three major histotypes and are characterized by aneuploidy, a feature of chromosome instability. The genetic alterations that underlie chromosome instability in endometrial cancer are poorly understood. In the present study, we used Sanger sequencing to search for nucleotide variants in the coding exons and splice junctions of 21 candidate chromosome instability genes, including 19 genes implicated in sister chromatid cohesion, from 24 primary, microsatellite-stable NEECs. Somatic mutations were verified by sequencing matched normal DNAs. We subsequently resequenced mutated genes from 41 additional NEECs as well as 42 endometrioid ECs (EECs). We uncovered nonsynonymous somatic mutations in ESCO1, CHTF18, and MRE11A in, respectively, 3.7% (4 of 107), 1.9% (2 of 107), and 1.9% (2 of 107) of endometrial tumors. Overall, 7.7% (5 of 65) of NEECs and 2.4% (1 of 42) of EECs had somatically mutated one or more of the three genes. A subset of mutations are predicted to impact protein function. The co-occurrence of somatic mutations in ESCO1 and CHTF18 was statistically significant (P = 0.0011, two-tailed Fisher's exact test). This is the first report of somatic mutations within ESCO1 and CHTF18 in endometrial tumors and of MRE11A mutations in microsatellite-stable endometrial tumors. Our findings warrant future studies to determine whether these mutations are driver events that contribute to the pathogenesis of endometrial cancer.

Pedersen BS, Konstantinopoulos PA, Spillman MA, De S
Copy neutral loss of heterozygosity is more frequent in older ovarian cancer patients.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2013; 52(9):794-801 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Loss of heterozygosity (LOH) is a common type of genomic alterations in ovarian cancer. Analyzing 74,415 copy neutral LOH events in 513 serous ovarian adenocarcinomas samples from the Cancer Genome Atlas, we report that the frequency of LOH events increases with age. Similar trend is observed for LOH involving chromosome 17, which is frequently implicated in ovarian cancer. The results are consistent when we analyze data from the Boston high-grade serous cancer cohort. We further show that germ line and somatic mutations in BRCA1 (in chromosome 17) and BRCA2 (in chromosome 13) loci are not necessary to establish the pattern. We also report significant age-related changes in expression patterns for several genes in the homologous recombination (HR) pathway, such as BRCA1, RAD50, RAD52, XRCC2, XRCC3, and MRE11A in these patient samples. Furthermore, we develop a metric for pathway-level imbalance, and show that increased imbalance in the HR pathway, i.e., increase in expression of some HR genes and decrease in expression of others, is common and correlates significantly with the frequency of LOH events in the patient samples. Taken together, it is highly likely that aging and deregulation of HR pathway contribute to the increased incidence of copy-neutral LOH in ovarian cancer patients.

Pellatt AJ, Wolff RK, Torres-Mejia G, et al.
Telomere length, telomere-related genes, and breast cancer risk: the breast cancer health disparities study.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2013; 52(7):595-609 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Telomeres are involved in maintaining genomic stability. Previous studies have linked both telomere length (TL) and telomere-related genes with cancer. We evaluated associations between telomere-related genes, TL, and breast cancer risk in an admixed population of US non-Hispanic white (1,481 cases, 1,586 controls) and U.S. Hispanic and Mexican women (2,111 cases, 2,597 controls) from the Breast Cancer Health Disparities Study. TL was assessed in 1,500 women based on their genetic ancestry. TL-related genes assessed were MEN1, MRE11A, RECQL5, TEP1, TERC, TERF2, TERT, TNKS, and TNKS2. Longer TL was associated with increased breast cancer risk [odds ratio (OR) 1.87, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.38, 2.55], with the highest risk (OR 3.11, 95% CI 1.74, 5.67 p interaction 0.02) among women with high Indigenous American ancestry. Several TL-related single nucleotide polymorphisms had modest association with breast cancer risk overall, including TEP1 rs93886 (OR 0.82, 95% CI 0.70,0.95); TERF2 rs3785074 (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03,1.24); TERT rs4246742 (OR 0.85, 95% CI 0.77,0.93); TERT rs10069690 (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.03,1.24); TERT rs2242652 (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.11,2.04); and TNKS rs6990300 (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.81,0.97). Several differences in association were detected by hormone receptor status of tumors. Most notable were associations with TERT rs2736118 (ORadj 6.18, 95% CI 2.90, 13.19) with estrogen receptor negative/progesterone receptor positive (ER-/PR+) tumors and TERT rs2735940 (ORadj 0.73, 95% CI 0.59, 0.91) with ER-/PR- tumors. These data provide support for an association between TL and TL-related genes and risk of breast cancer. The association may be modified by hormone receptor status and genetic ancestry.

Zhang ZZ, Liu YJ, Yin XL, et al.
Loss of BRCA1 expression leads to worse survival in patients with gastric carcinoma.
World J Gastroenterol. 2013; 19(12):1968-74 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
AIM: To investigate the expression deficiency of key molecular markers in the homologous recombination pathway.
METHODS: Expression loss of breast cancer type 1 susceptibility protein (BRCA1), ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM), ATM-Rad3-related (ATR), mediator of DNA damage checkpoint protein 1 (MDC1) and meiotic recombination 11 (Mre11) were correlated with their clinicopathological parameters in gastric cancer (GC). One hundred and twenty treatment-naive GC samples were formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded into tissue blocks. Two representative cores from each block were extracted and constructed into tissue microarrays. Expression levels of BRCA1, ATM, ATR, MDC1 and Mre11 were determined using immunohistochemical analysis, and correlated with clinical parameters, including age, gender, Lauren subtype, tumor grades, clinical stage and overall survival.
RESULTS: Expression loss of BRCA1, ATM, ATR, MDC1, and Mre11 was found in 21.4%, 20.2%, 21.0%, 11.1% and 4.6%, respectively, of interpretable cases. BRCA1 loss was significantly associated with patients of diffused subtype (intestinal vs diffused, 8.2% vs 31.7%, P = 0.001), higher tumor grade (I/II vs III, 10.7% vs 20.5; I/II vs IV, 10.7% vs 54.5%, P = 0.047) and advanced clinical stage (I/II vs III, 12.9% vs 16.9%; I/II vs IV, 12.9% vs 45.5%, P = 0.006). MDC1 loss was significantly associated with patients of diffused subtype (intestinal vs diffused, 0% vs 19.7%, P = 0.001) and higher tumor grade (I/II vs III, 0% vs 12%; I/II vs IV, 0% vs 30.8%, P = 0.012). In addition, the survival time of the patients with expression loss of BRCA1 was significantly shorter than those with positive expression of BRCA1 (2-year survival rate, 32.4% vs 62.8%, P = 0.015). No correlations were found between clinicopathological parameters and expression loss of ATM, ATR and Mre11.
CONCLUSION: Our results support the hypothesis that homologous recombination deficiency plays an important role in the progression of gastric carcinoma. Loss of expression of BRCA1 and MDC1 may serve as predictive factors in tumor development or progression in GC patients.

Wang CJ, Frånbergh-Karlson H, Wang DW, et al.
Clinicopathological significance of BTF3 expression in colorectal cancer.
Tumour Biol. 2013; 34(4):2141-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Basic transcription factor 3 (BTF3) is a general RNA polymerase II transcription factor and is also involved in apoptosis regulation. Increasing evidence shows that BTF3 is aberrantly expressed in several kinds of malignancies, but there is no study to analyze BTF3 expression in colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. Applying immunohistochemistry, we detected BTF3 in CRCs (n = 156), the corresponding distant (n = 42), adjacent normal mucosa (n = 96), lymph node metastases (n = 35), and analyzed its relationships with clinicopathological and biological variables. Our results showed that BTF3 staining significantly increased from distant or adjacent normal mucosa to primary CRCs (p < 0.0001) or metastases (p = 0.002 and p < 0.0001). BTF3 was higher in distal cancers than in proximal cancers (57 % vs. 39 %, p = 0.041). It also showed stronger staining in primary CRCs stage I and II than that in stage III and IV (64 % vs. 35 %, p = 0.0004), or metastases (64 % vs. 29 %, p = 0.004). Cancers with better differentiation had a higher expression than those with worse differentiation (56 % vs. 37 %, p = 0.031). There were positive correlations of BTF3 expression with nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB), RAD50, MRE11, NBS1, and AEG-1 (p < 0.05). In conclusion, BTF3 overexpression may be an early event in CRC development and could be useful biomarker for the early stage of CRCs. BTF3 has positive correlations with NF-κB, RAD50, MRE11, NBS1 and AEG-1, and might influence complex signal pathways in CRC.

Li WQ, Hu N, Hyland PL, et al.
Genetic variants in DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma and gastric adenocarcinoma in a Chinese population.
Carcinogenesis. 2013; 34(7):1536-42 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
The DNA repair pathways help to maintain genomic integrity and therefore genetic variation in the pathways could affect the propensity to develop cancer. Selected germline single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the pathways have been associated with esophageal cancer and gastric cancer (GC) but few studies have comprehensively examined the pathway genes. We aimed to investigate associations between DNA repair pathway genes and risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and GC, using data from a genome-wide association study in a Han Chinese population where ESCC and GC are the predominant cancers. In sum, 1942 ESCC cases, 1758 GC cases and 2111 controls from the Shanxi Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Genetics Project (discovery set) and the Linxian Nutrition Intervention Trials (replication set) were genotyped for 1675 SNPs in 170 DNA repair-related genes. Logistic regression models were applied to evaluate SNP-level associations. Gene- and pathway-level associations were determined using the resampling-based adaptive rank-truncated product approach. The DNA repair pathways overall were significantly associated with risk of ESCC (P = 6.37 × 10(-4)), but not with GC (P = 0.20). The most significant gene in ESCC was CHEK2 (P = 2.00 × 10(-6)) and in GC was CLK2 (P = 3.02 × 10(-4)). We observed several other genes significantly associated with either ESCC (SMUG1, TDG, TP53, GTF2H3, FEN1, POLQ, HEL308, RAD54B, MPG, FANCE and BRCA1) or GC risk (MRE11A, RAD54L and POLE) (P < 0.05). We provide evidence for an association between specific genes in the DNA repair pathways and the risk of ESCC and GC. Further studies are warranted to validate these associations and to investigate underlying mechanisms.

Mondal P, Datta S, Maiti GP, et al.
Comprehensive SNP scan of DNA repair and DNA damage response genes reveal multiple susceptibility loci conferring risk to tobacco associated leukoplakia and oral cancer.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(2):e56952 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Polymorphic variants of DNA repair and damage response genes play major role in carcinogenesis. These variants are suspected as predisposition factors to Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSCC). For identification of susceptible variants affecting OSCC development in Indian population, the "maximally informative" method of SNP selection from HapMap data to non-HapMap populations was applied. Three hundred twenty-five SNPs from 11 key genes involved in double strand break repair, mismatch repair and DNA damage response pathways were genotyped on a total of 373 OSCC, 253 leukoplakia and 535 unrelated control individuals. The significantly associated SNPs were validated in an additional cohort of 144 OSCC patients and 160 controls. The rs12515548 of MSH3 showed significant association with OSCC both in the discovery and validation phases (discovery P-value: 1.43E-05, replication P-value: 4.84E-03). Two SNPs (rs12360870 of MRE11A, P-value: 2.37E-07 and rs7003908 of PRKDC, P-value: 7.99E-05) were found to be significantly associated only with leukoplakia. Stratification of subjects based on amount of tobacco consumption identified SNPs that were associated with either high or low tobacco exposed group. The study reveals a synergism between associated SNPs and lifestyle factors in predisposition to OSCC and leukoplakia.

van Pel DM, Stirling PC, Minaker SW, et al.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae genetics predicts candidate therapeutic genetic interactions at the mammalian replication fork.
G3 (Bethesda). 2013; 3(2):273-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
The concept of synthetic lethality has gained popularity as a rational guide for predicting chemotherapeutic targets based on negative genetic interactions between tumor-specific somatic mutations and a second-site target gene. One hallmark of most cancers that can be exploited by chemotherapies is chromosome instability (CIN). Because chromosome replication, maintenance, and segregation represent conserved and cell-essential processes, they can be modeled effectively in simpler eukaryotes such as Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here we analyze and extend genetic networks of CIN cancer gene orthologs in yeast, focusing on essential genes. This identifies hub genes and processes that are candidate targets for synthetic lethal killing of cancer cells with defined somatic mutations. One hub process in these networks is DNA replication. A nonessential, fork-associated scaffold, CTF4, is among the most highly connected genes. As Ctf4 lacks enzymatic activity, potentially limiting its development as a therapeutic target, we exploited its function as a physical interaction hub to rationally predict synthetic lethal interactions between essential Ctf4-binding proteins and CIN cancer gene orthologs. We then validated a subset of predicted genetic interactions in a human colorectal cancer cell line, showing that siRNA-mediated knockdown of MRE11A sensitizes cells to depletion of various replication fork-associated proteins. Overall, this work describes methods to identify, predict, and validate in cancer cells candidate therapeutic targets for tumors with known somatic mutations in CIN genes using data from yeast. We affirm not only replication stress but also the targeting of DNA replication fork proteins themselves as potential targets for anticancer therapeutic development.

van Pel DM, Barrett IJ, Shimizu Y, et al.
An evolutionarily conserved synthetic lethal interaction network identifies FEN1 as a broad-spectrum target for anticancer therapeutic development.
PLoS Genet. 2013; 9(1):e1003254 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/03/2015 Related Publications
Harnessing genetic differences between cancerous and noncancerous cells offers a strategy for the development of new therapies. Extrapolating from yeast genetic interaction data, we used cultured human cells and siRNA to construct and evaluate a synthetic lethal interaction network comprised of chromosome instability (CIN) genes that are frequently mutated in colorectal cancer. A small number of genes in this network were found to have synthetic lethal interactions with a large number of cancer CIN genes; these genes are thus attractive targets for anticancer therapeutic development. The protein product of one highly connected gene, the flap endonuclease FEN1, was used as a target for small-molecule inhibitor screening using a newly developed fluorescence-based assay for enzyme activity. Thirteen initial hits identified through in vitro biochemical screening were tested in cells, and it was found that two compounds could selectively inhibit the proliferation of cultured cancer cells carrying inactivating mutations in CDC4, a gene frequently mutated in a variety of cancers. Inhibition of flap endonuclease activity was also found to recapitulate a genetic interaction between FEN1 and MRE11A, another gene frequently mutated in colorectal cancers, and to lead to increased endogenous DNA damage. These chemical-genetic interactions in mammalian cells validate evolutionarily conserved synthetic lethal interactions and demonstrate that a cross-species candidate gene approach is successful in identifying small-molecule inhibitors that prove effective in a cell-based cancer model.

Martin LM, Marples B, Davies AM, et al.
DNA mismatch repair protein MSH2 dictates cellular survival in response to low dose radiation in endometrial carcinoma cells.
Cancer Lett. 2013; 335(1):19-25 [PubMed] Related Publications
DNA repair and G2-phase cell cycle checkpoint responses are involved in the manifestation of hyper-radiosensitivity (HRS). The low-dose radioresponse of MSH2 isogenic endometrial carcinoma cell lines was examined. Defects in cell cycle checkpoint activation and the DNA damage response in irradiated cells (0.2 Gy) were evaluated. HRS was expressed solely in MSH2+ cells and was associated with efficient activation of the early G2-phase cell cycle checkpoint. Maintenance of the arrest was associated with persistent MRE11, γH2AX, RAD51 foci at 2 h after irradiation. Persistent MRE11 and RAD51 foci were also evident 24 h after 0.2 Gy. MSH2 significantly enhances cell radiosensitivity to low dose IR.

Shirode AB, Kovvuru P, Chittur SV, et al.
Antiproliferative effects of pomegranate extract in MCF-7 breast cancer cells are associated with reduced DNA repair gene expression and induction of double strand breaks.
Mol Carcinog. 2014; 53(6):458-70 [PubMed] Related Publications
Pomegranate extract (PE) inhibits the proliferation of breast cancer cells and stimulates apoptosis in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. While PE is a potent antioxidant, the present studies were conducted to examine the mechanisms of action of PE beyond antioxidation by studying cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying breast tumorigenesis. PE inhibited cell growth by inducing cell cycle arrest in G2 /M followed by the induction of apoptosis. In contrast, antioxidants N-acetylcysteine and Trolox did not affect cell growth at doses containing equivalent antioxidant capacity as PE, suggesting that growth inhibition by PE cannot solely be attributed to its high antioxidant potential. DNA microarray analysis revealed that PE downregulated genes associated with mitosis, chromosome organization, RNA processing, DNA replication and DNA repair, and upregulated genes involved in regulation of apoptosis and cell proliferation. Both microarray and quantitative RT-PCR indicated that PE downregulated important genes involved in DNA double strand break (DSB) repair by homologous recombination (HR), such as MRE11, RAD50, NBS1, RAD51, BRCA1, BRCA2, and BRCC3. Downregulation of HR genes correlated with increased levels of their predicted microRNAs (miRNAs), miR-183 (predicted target RAD50) and miR-24 (predicted target BRCA1), suggesting that PE may regulate miRNAs involved in DNA repair processes. Further, PE treatment increased the frequency of DSBs. These data suggest that PE downregulates HR which sensitizes cells to DSBs, growth inhibition and apoptosis. Because HR represents a novel target for cancer therapy, downregulation of HR by PE may be exploited for sensitization of tumors to anticancer drugs.

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