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Transformative discoveries in genome and cellular integrity


Shieldin complex promotes DNA end-joining and counters homologous recombination in BRCA1-null cells

Dev H, Chiang TW, Lescale C, de Krijger I, Martin AG, Pilger D, Coates J, Sczaniecka-Clift M, Wei W, Ostermaier M, Herzog M, Lam J, Shea A, Demir M, Qian Wu Q, Yang F, Fu B, Lai Z, Balmus G, Belotserkovskaya R, Serra V, O’Connor MJ, runa A, Beli P, Pellegrini L, Caldas C, Deriano L, Jacobs JJL, Galanty Y and Jackson SP.

Nature Cell Biology 18 July 2018 [EPub ahead of print]

BRCA1 deficiencies cause breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers, and render tumours hypersensitive to poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. To understand the resistance mechanisms, we conducted whole-genome CRISPR–Cas9 synthetic-viability/resistance screens in BRCA1-deficient breast cancer cells treated with PARP inhibitors. We identified two previously uncharacterized proteins, C20orf196 and FAM35A, whose inactivation confers strong PARP-inhibitor resistance. Mechanistically, we show that C20orf196 and FAM35A form a complex, ‘Shieldin’ (SHLD1/2), with FAM35A interacting with single-stranded DNA through its C-terminal oligonucleotide/oligosaccharide-binding fold region. We establish that Shieldin acts as the downstream effector of 53BP1/RIF1/MAD2L2 to promote DNA double-strand break (DSB) end-joining by restricting DSB resection and to counteract homologous recombination by antagonizing BRCA2/RAD51 loading in BRCA1-deficient cells. Notably, Shieldin inactivation further sensitizes BRCA1-deficient cells to cisplatin, suggesting how defining the SHLD1/2 status of BRCA1-deficient tumours might aid patient stratification and yield new treatment opportunities. Highlighting this potential, we document reduced SHLD1/2 expression in human breast cancers displaying intrinsic or acquired PARP-inhibitor resistance.

Kate Dry