How cell metabolism regulates DNA repair is incompletely understood. Here, we define a GTP-mediated signaling cascade that links metabolism to DNA repair and has significant therapeutic implications. GTP, but not other nucleotides, regulates the activity of Rac1, a guanine nucleotide-binding protein, which promotes the dephosphorylation of serine 323 on Abl-interactor 1 (Abi-1) by protein phosphatase 5 (PP5). Dephosphorylated Abi-1, a protein previously not known to activate DNA repair, promotes nonhomologous end joining. In patients and mouse models of glioblastoma, Rac1 and dephosphorylated Abi-1 mediate DNA repair and resistance to standard-of-care genotoxic treatments. The GTP–Rac1–PP5–Abi-1 signaling axis is not limited to brain cancer, as GTP supplementation promotes DNA repair and Abi-1-S323 dephosphorylation in nonmalignant cells and protects mouse tissues from genotoxic insult. This unexpected ability of GTP to regulate DNA repair independently of deoxynucleotide pools has important implications for normal physiology and cancer treatment.
A newly described GTP-dependent signaling axis is an unexpected link between nucleotide metabolism and DNA repair. Disrupting this pathway can overcome cancer resistance to genotoxic therapy while augmenting it can mitigate genotoxic injury of normal tissues.