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  • 1. Bräutigam, Lars
    et al.
    Pudelko, Linda
    Jemth, Ann-Sofie
    Gad, Helge
    Narwal, Mohit
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Gustafsson, Robert
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Karsten, Stella
    Carreras Puigvert, Jordi
    Homan, Evert
    Berndt, Carsten
    Warpman Berglund, Ulrika
    Stenmark, Pål
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Helleday, Thomas
    Hypoxic Signaling and the Cellular Redox Tumor Environment Determine Sensitivity to MTH1 Inhibition2016In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 76, no 8, p. 2366-2375Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Cancer cells are commonly in a state of redox imbalance that drives their growth and survival. To compensate for oxidative stress induced by the tumor redox environment, cancer cells upregulate specific nononcogenic addiction enzymes, such as MTH1 (NUDT1), which detoxifies oxidized nucleotides. Here, we show that increasing oxidative stress in nonmalignant cells induced their sensitization to the effects of MTH1 inhibition, whereas decreasing oxidative pressure in cancer cells protected against inhibition. Furthermore, we purified zebrafish MTH1 and solved the crystal structure of MTH1 bound to its inhibitor, highlighting the zebrafish as a relevant tool to study MTH1 biology. Delivery of 8-oxo-dGTP and 2-OH-dATP to zebrafish embryos was highly toxic in the absence of MTH1 activity. Moreover, chemically or genetically mimicking activated hypoxia signaling in zebrafish revealed that pathologic upregulation of the HIF1 alpha response, often observed in cancer and linked to poor prognosis, sensitized embryos to MTH1 inhibition. Using a transgenic zebrafish line, in which the cellular redox status can be monitored in vivo, we detected an increase in oxidative pressure upon activation of hypoxic signaling. Pretreatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl-L-cysteine protected embryos with activated hypoxia signaling against MTH1 inhibition, suggesting that the aberrant redox environment likely causes sensitization. In summary, MTH1 inhibition may offer a general approach to treat cancers characterized by deregulated hypoxia signaling or redox imbalance.

  • 2. Chan, Norman
    et al.
    Pires, Isabel M
    Bencokova, Zuzana
    Coackley, Carla
    Luoto, Kaisa R
    Bhogal, Nirmal
    Lakshman, Minalini
    Gottipati, Ponnari
    Oliver, F Javier
    Helleday, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Hammond, Ester M
    Bristow, Robert G
    Contextual synthetic lethality of cancer cell kill based on the tumor microenvironment.2010In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 70, no 20, p. 8045-54Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Acute and chronic hypoxia exists within the three-dimensional microenvironment of solid tumors and drives therapy resistance, genetic instability, and metastasis. Replicating cells exposed to either severe acute hypoxia (16 hours with 0.02% O(2)) followed by reoxygenation or moderate chronic hypoxia (72 hours with 0.2% O(2)) treatments have decreased homologous recombination (HR) protein expression and function. As HR defects are synthetically lethal with poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) inhibition, we evaluated the sensitivity of repair-defective hypoxic cells to PARP inhibition. Although PARP inhibition itself did not affect HR expression or function, we observed increased clonogenic killing in HR-deficient hypoxic cells following chemical inhibition of PARP1. This effect was partially reversible by RAD51 overexpression. PARP1(-/-) murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) showed a proliferative disadvantage under hypoxic gassing when compared with PARP1(+/+) MEFs. PARP-inhibited hypoxic cells accumulated γH2AX and 53BP1 foci as a consequence of altered DNA replication firing during S phase-specific cell killing. In support of this proposed mode of action, PARP inhibitor-treated xenografts displayed increased γH2AX and cleaved caspase-3 expression in RAD51-deficient hypoxic subregions in vivo, which was associated with decreased ex vivo clonogenic survival following experimental radiotherapy. This is the first report of selective cell killing of HR-defective hypoxic cells in vivo as a consequence of microenvironment-mediated "contextual synthetic lethality." As all solid tumors contain aggressive hypoxic cells, this may broaden the clinical utility of PARP and DNA repair inhibition, either alone or in combination with radiotherapy and chemotherapy, even in tumor cells lacking synthetically lethal, genetic mutations.

  • 3. Gottipati, Ponnari
    et al.
    Vischioni, Barbara
    Schultz, Niklas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Solomons, Joyce
    Bryant, Helen E.
    Djureinovic, Tatjana
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Issaeva, Natalia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Sleeth, Kate
    Sharma, Ricky A.
    Helleday, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Poly(ADP-Ribose) Polymerase Is Hyperactivated in Homologous Recombination-Defective Cells2010In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 70, no 13, p. 5389-5398Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Poly(ADP-ribose) (PAR) polymerase 1 (PARP1) is activated by DNA single-strand breaks (SSB) or at stalled replication forks to facilitate DNA repair. Inhibitors of PARP efficiently kill breast, ovarian, or prostate tumors in patients carrying hereditary mutations in the homologous recombination (HR) genes BRCA1 or BRCA2 through synthetic lethality. Here, we surprisingly show that PARP1 is hyperactivated in replicating BRCA2-defective cells. PARP1 hyperactivation is explained by the defect in HR as shRNA depletion of RAD54, RAD52, BLM, WRN, and XRCC3 proteins, which we here show are all essential for efficient HR and also caused PARP hyperactivation and correlated with an increased sensitivity to PARP inhibitors. BRCA2-defective cells were not found to have increased levels of SSBs, and PAR polymers formed in HR-defective cells do not colocalize to replication protein A or gamma H2AX, excluding the possibility that PARP hyperactivity is due to increased SSB repair or PARP induced at damaged replication forks. Resistance to PARP inhibitors can occur through genetic reversion in the BRCA2 gene. Here, we report that PARP inhibitor-resistant BRCA2-mutant cells revert back to normal levels of PARP activity. We speculate that the reason for the sensitivity of HR-defective cells to PARP inhibitors is related to the hyperactivated PARP1 in these cells. Furthermore, the presence of PAR polymers can be used to identify HR-defective cells that are sensitive to PARP inhibitors, which may be potential biomarkers. Cancer Res; 70(13); 5389-98. (C) 2010 AACR.

  • 4.
    Gustafsson, Robert
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Jemth, Ann-Sofie
    Gustafsson, Nina M. S.
    Färnegårdh, Katarina
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Organic Chemistry. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).
    Loseva, Olga
    Wiita, Elisée
    Bonagas, Nadilly
    Dahllund, Leif
    Llona-Minguez, Sabin
    Häggblad, Maria
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).
    Henriksson, Martin
    Andersson, Yasmin
    Homan, Evert
    Helleday, Thomas
    Stenmark, Pal
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Crystal Structure of the Emerging Cancer Target MTHFD2 in Complex with a Substrate-Based Inhibitor2017In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 77, no 4, p. 937-948Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    To sustain their proliferation, cancer cells become dependent on one-carbon metabolism to support purine and thymidylate synthesis. Indeed, one of the most highly upregulated enzymes during neoplastic transformation is MTHFD2, a mitochondrial methylenetetrahydrofolate dehydrogenase and cyclohydrolase involved in one-carbon metabolism. Because MTHFD2 is expressed normally only during embryonic development, it offers a disease-selective therapeutic target for eradicating cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. Here we report the synthesis and preclinical characterization of the first inhibitor of human MTHFD2. We also disclose the first crystal structure of MTHFD2 in complex with a substrate-based inhibitor and the enzyme cofactors NAD(+) and inorganic phosphate. Our work provides a rationale for continued development of a structural framework for the generation of potent and selective MTHFD2 inhibitors for cancer treatment.

  • 5. Higgins, Geoff S
    et al.
    Prevo, Remko
    Lee, Yin-Fai
    Helleday, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Muschel, Ruth J
    Taylor, Steve
    Yoshimura, Michio
    Hickson, Ian D
    Bernhard, Eric J
    McKenna, W Gillies
    A small interfering RNA screen of genes involved in DNA repair identifies tumor-specific radiosensitization by POLQ knockdown.2010In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 70, no 7, p. 2984-93Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The effectiveness of radiotherapy treatment could be significantly improved if tumor cells could be rendered more sensitive to ionizing radiation (IR) without altering the sensitivity of normal tissues. However, many of the key therapeutically exploitable mechanisms that determine intrinsic tumor radiosensitivity are largely unknown. We have conducted a small interfering RNA (siRNA) screen of 200 genes involved in DNA damage repair aimed at identifying genes whose knockdown increased tumor radiosensitivity. Parallel siRNA screens were conducted in irradiated and unirradiated tumor cells (SQ20B) and irradiated normal tissue cells (MRC5). Using gammaH2AX foci at 24 hours after IR, we identified several genes, such as BRCA2, Lig IV, and XRCC5, whose knockdown is known to cause increased cell radiosensitivity, thereby validating the primary screening end point. In addition, we identified POLQ (DNA polymerase ) as a potential tumor-specific target. Subsequent investigations showed that POLQ knockdown resulted in radiosensitization of a panel of tumor cell lines from different primary sites while having little or no effect on normal tissue cell lines. These findings raise the possibility that POLQ inhibition might be used clinically to cause tumor-specific radiosensitization.

  • 6.
    Issaeva, Natalia
    et al.
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Thomas, Huw D.
    Djurenovic, Tatjana
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Jaspers, Janneke E.
    Stoimenov, Ivaylo
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Kyle, Suzanne
    Pedley, Nicholas
    Gottipati, Ponnari
    Zur, Rafal
    Sleeth, Kate
    Chatzakos, Vicky
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Mulligan, Evan A.
    Lundin, Cecilia
    Gubanova, Evgenia
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    Kersbergen, Ariena
    Harris, Adrian L.
    Sharma, Ricky A.
    Rottenberg, Sven
    Curtin, Nicola J.
    Helleday, Thomas
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology.
    6-Thioguanine Selectively Kills BRCA2-Defective Tumors and Overcomes PARP Inhibitor Resistance2010In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 70, no 15, p. 6268-6276Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Familial breast and ovarian cancers are often defective in homologous recombination (HR) due to mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. Cisplatin chemotherapy or poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors were tested for these tumors in clinical trials. In a screen for novel drugs that selectively kill BRCA2-defective cells, we identified 6-thioguanine (6TG), which induces DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) that are repaired by HR. Furthermore, we show that 6TG is as efficient as a PARP inhibitor in selectively killing BRCA2-defective tumors in a xenograft model. Spontaneous BRCA1-defective mammary tumors gain resistance to PARP inhibitors through increased P-glycoprotein expression. Here, we show that 6TG efficiently kills such BRCA1-defective PARP inhibitor-resistant tumors. We also show that 6TG could kill cells and tumors that have gained resistance to PARP inhibitors or cisplatin through genetic reversion of the BRCA2 gene. Although HR is reactivated in PARP inhibitor-resistant BRCA2-defective cells, it is not fully restored for the repair of 6TG-induced lesions. This is likely to be due to several recombinogenic lesions being formed after 6TG. We show that BRCA2 is also required for survival from mismatch repair-independent lesions formed by 6TG, which do not include DSBs. This suggests that HR is involved in the repair of 6TG-induced DSBs as well as mismatch repair-independent 6TG-induced DNA lesion. Altogether, our data show that 6TG efficiently kills BRCA2-defective tumors and suggest that 6TG may be effective in the treatment of advanced tumors that have developed resistance to PARP inhibitors or platinum-based chemotherapy. Cancer Res; 70(15); 6268-76. (C) 2010 AACR.

  • 7. Mathot, Lucy
    et al.
    Kundu, Snehangshu
    Ljungström, Viktor
    Svedlund, Jessica
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab).
    Moens, Lotte
    Adlerteg, Tom
    Falk-Sörqvist, Elin
    Rendo, Veronica
    Bellomo, Claudia
    Mayrhofer, Markus
    Cortina, Carme
    Sundström, Magnus
    Micke, Patrick
    Botling, Johan
    Isaksson, Anders
    Moustakas, Aristidis
    Batlle, Eduard
    Birgisson, Helgi
    Glimelius, Bengt
    Nilsson, Mats
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Stockholm University, Science for Life Laboratory (SciLifeLab). Uppsala University, Sweden.
    Sjöblom, Tobias
    Somatic Ephrin Receptor Mutations Are Associated with Metastasis in Primary Colorectal Cancer2017In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 77, no 7, p. 1730-1740Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The contribution of somatic mutations to metastasis of colorectal cancers is currently unknown. To find mutations involved in the colorectal cancer metastatic process, we performed deep mutational analysis of 676 genes in 107 stages II to IV primary colorectal cancer, of which half had metastasized. The mutation prevalence in the ephrin (EPH) family of tyrosine kinase receptors was 10-fold higher in primary tumors of metastatic colorectal than in nonmetastatic cases and preferentially occurred in stage III and IV tumors. Mutational analyses in situ confirmed expression of mutant EPH receptors. To enable functional studies of EPHB1 mutations, we demonstrated that DLD-1 colorectal cancer cells expressing EPHB1 form aggregates upon coculture with ephrin B1 expressing cells. When mutations in the fibronectin type III and kinase domains of EPHB1 were compared with wild-type EPHB1 in DLD-1 colorectal cancer cells, they decreased ephrin B1-induced compartmentalization. These observations provide a mechanistic link between EPHB receptor mutations and metastasis in colorectal cancer.

  • 8. Valerie, Nicholas C. K.
    et al.
    Hagenkort, Anna
    Page, Brent D. G.
    Masuyer, Geoffrey
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Rehling, Daniel
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Carter, Megan
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Bevc, Luka
    Herr, Patrick
    Homan, Evert
    Sheppard, Nina G.
    Stenmark, Pål
    Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics.
    Jemth, Ann-Sofie
    Helleday, Thomas
    NUDT15 Hydrolyzes 6-Thio-DeoxyGTP to Mediate the Anticancer Efficacy of 6-Thioguanine2016In: Cancer Research, ISSN 0008-5472, E-ISSN 1538-7445, Vol. 76, no 18, p. 5501-5511Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Thiopurines are a standard treatment for childhood leukemia, but like all chemotherapeutics, their use is limited by inherent or acquired resistance in patients. Recently, the nucleoside diphosphate hydrolase NUDT15 has received attention on the basis of its ability to hydrolyze the thiopurine effector metabolites 6-thio-deoxyGTP (6-thio-dGTP) and 6-thio-GTP, thereby limiting the efficacy of thiopurines. In particular, increasing evidence suggests an association between the NUDT15 missense variant, R139C, and thiopurine sensitivity. In this study, we elucidated the role of NUDT15 and NUDT15 R139C in thiopurine metabolism. In vitro and cellular results argued that 6-thio-dGTP and 6-thio-GTP are favored substrates for NUDT15, a finding supported by a crystallographic determination of NUDT15 in complex with 6-thio-GMP. We found that NUDT15 R139C mutation did not affect enzymatic activity but instead negatively influenced protein stability, likely due to a loss of supportive intramolecular bonds that caused rapid proteasomal degradation in cells. Mechanistic investigations in cells indicated that NUDT15 ablation potentiated induction of the DNA damage checkpoint and cancer cell death by 6-thioguanine. Taken together, our results defined how NUDT15 limits thiopurine efficacy and how genetic ablation via the R139C missense mutation confers sensitivity to thiopurine treatment in patients.

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