Chemical Inhibition of RPA by HAMNO Alters Cell Cycle Dynamics by Impeding DNA Replication and G2-to-M Transition but Has Little Effect on the Radiation-Induced DNA Damage Response

Replication protein A (RPA) is the major single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) binding protein that is essential for DNA replication and processing of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by homology-directed repair pathways. Recently, small molecule inhibitors have been developed targeting the RPA70 subunit and preventing RPA interactions with ssDNA and various DNA repair proteins. The rationale of this development is the potential utility of such compounds as cancer therapeutics, owing to their ability to inhibit DNA replication that sustains tumor growth. Among these compounds, (1Z)-1-[(2-hydroxyanilino) methylidene] naphthalen-2-one (HAMNO) has been more extensively studied and its efficacy against tumor growth was shown to arise from the associated DNA replication stress. Here, we study the effects of HAMNO on cells exposed to ionizing radiation (IR), focusing on the effects on the DNA damage response and the processing of DSBs and explore its potential as a radiosensitizer. We show that HAMNO by itself slows down the progression of cells through the cell cycle by dramatically decreasing DNA synthesis. Notably, HAMNO also attenuates the progression of G2-phase cells into mitosis by a mechanism that remains to be elucidated. Furthermore, HAMNO increases the fraction of chromatin-bound RPA in S-phase but not in G2-phase cells and suppresses DSB repair by homologous recombination. Despite these marked effects on the cell cycle and the DNA damage response, radiosensitization could neither be detected in exponentially growing cultures, nor in cultures enriched in G2-phase cells. Our results complement existing data on RPA inhibitors, specifically HAMNO, and suggest that their antitumor activity by replication stress induction may not extend to radiosensitization. However, it may render cells more vulnerable to other forms of DNA damaging agents through synthetically lethal interactions, which requires further investigation.


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