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Synergistic Effects of an Irreversible DNA Polymerase Inhibitor and DNA Damaging Agents on HeLa Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2017, 17:19 by Rakesh Paul, Samya Banerjee, Marc M. Greenberg
DNA repair is vital to maintaining genome integrity but thwarts the effects of cytotoxic agents that target nucleic acids. Consequently, repair enzymes are potential targets for molecules that modulate cell function and anticancer therapeutics. DNA polymerase β (Pol β) is an attractive target because it plays a key role in base excision repair (BER), a primary pathway that repairs the effects of many DNA damaging agents. We previously identified an irreversible inhibitor of Pol β whose design was based upon a DNA lesion that inactivates Pol β and its back up BER enzyme, DNA polymerase λ (Pol λ). Using this molecule as a starting point, we characterized an irreversible inhibitor (13) of Pol β (IC50 = 0.4 μM) and Pol λ (IC50 = 0.25 μM) from a 130-member library of candidates that is ∼50-fold more effective against Pol β. Pro-13 (5 μM) is only slightly cytotoxic to human cervical cancer cells (HeLa) but potentiates the cytotoxicity of methyl methanesulfonate (MMS). DNA isolated from HeLa cells treated with MMS contains a ∼3-fold greater amount of abasic sites when pro-13 is present, consistent with inhibition of DNA repair. Proinhibitor pro-13 continues to induce cytotoxicity in DNA damaged cells following MMS removal. HeLa cell cytotoxicity is increased ∼100-fold following an 8 h incubation with pro-13 after cells were originally subjected to conditions under which 20% of the cells survive and reproduce. The potentiation of MMS cytotoxicity by pro-13 is greater than any previously reported BER enzyme repair inhibitor.