BRCA1-mediated homologous recombination is an important DNA repair mechanism that is the target of FDA-approved PARP inhibitors, yet details of BRCA1-mediated functions remain to be fully elucidated. Similarly, immune checkpoint molecules are targets of FDA-approved cancer immunotherapies, but the biological and mechanistic consequences of their application are incompletely understood. We show here that the immune checkpoint molecule PD-L1 regulates homologous recombination in cancer cells by promoting BRCA1 nuclear foci formation and DNA end resection. Genetic depletion of tumor PD-L1 reduced homologous recombination, increased non-homologous end joining, and elicited synthetic lethality to PARP inhibitors olaparib and talazoparib in vitro in some, but not all, BRCA1 wild-type tumor cells. In vivo, genetic depletion of tumor PD-L1 rendered olaparib-resistant tumors senstive to olaparib. By contrast, anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint blockade neither enhanced olaparib synthetic lethality nor improved its efficacy in vitro or in wild-type mice. Tumor PD-L1 did not alter expression of BRCA1 or its co-factor BARD1 but instead co-immunoprecipitated with BARD1 and increased BRCA1 nuclear accumulation. Tumor PD-L1 depletion enhanced tumor CCL5 expression and TBK1 activation in vitro, similar to known immune-potentiating effects of PARP inhibitors. Collectively, these data define immune-dependent and -independent effects of PARP inhibitor treatment and genetic tumor PD-L1 depletion. Moreover, they implicate a tumor cell-intrinsic, immune checkpoint-independent function of PD-L1 in cancer cell BRCA1-mediated DNA damage repair with translational potential, including as a treatment response biomarker.

This content is only available via PDF.

Article PDF first page preview

Article PDF first page preview
You do not currently have access to this content.