MSH3 mediates sensitization of colorectal cancer cells to cisplatin, oxaliplatin, and a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor

Masanobu Takahashi, Minoru Koi, Francesc Balaguer, C. Richard Boland, Ajay Goel

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66 Citations (Scopus)


The MSH3 gene is one of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes that has undergone somatic mutation frequently in MMR-deficient cancers. MSH3, together with MSH2, forms the MutSβ heteroduplex, which interacts with interstrand cross-links (ICLs) induced by drugs such as cisplatin and psoralen. However, the precise role of MSH3 in mediating the cytotoxic effects of ICL-inducing agents remains poorly understood. In this study, we first examined the effects of MSH3 deficiency on cytotoxicity caused by cisplatin and oxaliplatin, another ICL-inducing platinum drug. Using isogenic HCT116-derived clones in which MSH3 expression is controlled by shRNA expression in a Tet-off system, we discovered that MSH3 deficiency sensitized cells to both cisplatin and oxaliplatin at clinically relevant doses. Interestingly, siRNA-induced down-regulation of the MLH1 protein did not affect MSH3-dependent toxicity of these drugs, indicating that this process does not require participation of the canonical MMR pathway. Furthermore, MSH3-deficient cells maintained higher levels of phosphorylated histone H2AX and 53BP1 after oxaliplatin treatment in comparison with MSH3-proficient cells, suggesting that MSH3 plays an important role in repairing DNA doublestrand breaks (DSBs). This role of MSH3 was further supported by our findings that MSH3-deficient cells were sensitive to olaparib, a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor. Moreover, the combination of oxaliplatin and olaparib exhibited a synergistic effect compared with either treatment individually. Collectively, our results provide novel evidence that MSH3 deficiency contributes to the cytotoxicity of platinum drugs through deficient DSB repair. These data lay the foundation for the development of effective prediction and treatments for cancers with MSH3 deficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12157-12165
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 8


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