Western blot analysis of BRCA1, BRCA2, Rad51 and β-actin in recurrent GBM1, GBM2 and U87 cells transduced with Pol κ shRNA or control shRNA
National Natural Science Foundation of China
the Jiangsu Province's Natural Science Foundation
the Program for Advanced Talents within Six Industries of Jiangsu Province
ARTICLE ABSTRACTThe acquisition of drug resistance is a persistent clinical problem limiting the successful treatment of human cancers, including glioblastoma (GBM). However, the molecular mechanisms by which initially chemoresponsive tumors develop therapeutic resistance remain poorly understood. In this study, we report that Pol κ, an error-prone polymerase that participates in translesion DNA synthesis, was significantly upregulated in GBM cell lines and tumor tissues following temozolomide treatment. Overexpression of Pol κ in temozolomide-sensitive GBM cells conferred resistance to temozolomide, whereas its inhibition markedly sensitized resistant cells to temozolomide in vitro and in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. Mechanistically, depletion of Pol κ disrupted homologous recombination (HR)-mediated repair and restart of stalled replication forks, impaired the activation of ATR-Chk1 signaling, and delayed cell-cycle re-entry and progression. Further investigation of the relationship between Pol κ and temozolomide revealed that Pol κ inactivation facilitated temozolomide-induced Rad17 ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation, subsequently silencing ATR-Chk1 signaling and leading to defective HR repair and the reversal of temozolomide resistance. Moreover, overexpression of Rad17 in Pol κ-depleted GBM cells restored HR efficiency, promoted the clearance of temozolomide-induced DNA breaks, and desensitized cells to the cytotoxic effects of temozolomide observed in the absence of Pol κ. Finally, we found that Pol κ overexpression correlated with poor prognosis in GBM patients undergoing temozolomide therapy. Collectively, our findings identify a potential mechanism by which GBM cells develop resistance to temozolomide and suggest that targeting the DNA damage tolerance pathway may be beneficial for overcoming resistance. Cancer Res; 76(8); 2340–53. ©2016 AACR.