Crosstalk between translesion synthesis, Fanconi anemia network, and homologous recombination repair pathways in interstrand DNA crosslink repair and development of chemoresistance.


Bifunctional alkylating and platinum based drugs are chemotherapeutic agents used to treat cancer. These agents induce DNA adducts via formation of intrastrand or interstrand (ICL) DNA crosslinks, and DNA lesions of the ICL type are particularly toxic as they block DNA replication and/or DNA transcription. However, the therapeutic efficacies of these drugs are frequently limited due to the cancer cell's enhanced ability to repair and tolerate these toxic DNA lesions. This ability to tolerate and survive the DNA damage is accomplished by a set of specialized low fidelity DNA polymerases called translesion synthesis (TLS) polymerases since high fidelity DNA polymerases are unable to replicate the damaged DNA template. TLS is a crucial initial step in ICL repair as it synthesizes DNA across the lesion thus preparing the damaged DNA template for repair by the homologous recombination (HR) pathway and Fanconi anemia (FA) network, processes critical for ICL repair. Here we review the molecular features and functional roles of TLS polymerases, discuss the collaborative interactions and cross-regulation of the TLS DNA damage tolerance pathway, the FA network and the BRCA-dependent HRR pathway, and the impact of TLS hyperactivation on development of chemoresistance. Finally, since TLS hyperactivation results from overexpression of Rad6/Rad18 ubiquitinating enzymes (fundamental components of the TLS pathway), increased PCNA ubiquitination, and/or increased recruitment of TLS polymerases, the potential benefits of selectively targeting critical components of the TLS pathway for enhancing anti-cancer therapeutic efficacy and curtailing chemotherapy-induced mutagenesis are also discussed.


Haynes, Brittany; Saadat, Nadia; Myung, Brian; Shekhar, Malathy P V;


  • Antineoplastic Agents/ adverse effects
  • DNA/ biosynthesis
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase/ metabolism
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group Proteins/ metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mutagens/ adverse effects
  • Neoplasms/ drug therapy
  • Neoplasms/ genetics
  • Recombinational DNA Repair
  • Signal Transduction

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