Double stranded DNA break (DSB)s are repaired by two major mechanistically distinct pathways, homologous recombination (HR) and non-homologous end joining (NHEJ). A decisive factor in the choice between DSB repair pathways is in the competition between DNA end protection (necessary for NHEJ) and DNA end resection (necessary for HR). As the ‘master regulator’ of DSB repair pathway choice, 53BP1, a chromatin-associated reader of epigenetic marks at DSBs, helps channel DSBs into the NHEJ pathway by restricting BRCA1-dependent end resection. 53BP1 nucleates the assembly of a higher order ensemble that includes the Shieldin complex, CST complex, and DNA polymerase (Pol) a-primase complex. Loss of BRCA1 provides a therapeutic opportunity as these tumors are exquisitely sensitive to inhibitors of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP), and are also susceptible to platinum-based drugs. Loss of 53BP1 or any of the 53BP1-interacting proteins restores end resection and causes PARPi resistance in BRCA1-mutant tumors. We recently identified Dynein light chain like protein 1 (DYNLL1) as as anti-resection factor. Loss of DYNLL1 allowed DNA end resection and restored HR, thereby inducing resistance to platinum drugs and PARPi in BRCA1-mutant tumors. At the molecular level, DYNLL1 limited the nucleolytic resection of DNA ends by interacting with the resection machinery. Importantly, purified DYNLL1 interacted with MRE11 and inhibited its exonuclease activity in vitro. Now we observe that 53BP1 loss prevents DYNLL1 recruitment to DSBs and more broadly to chromatin. We hypothesize that 53BP1 inhibits MRE11-mediated DNA end resection by recruiting DYNLL1 and that DYNLL1 functions in parallel of Shieldin-CST to regulate DNA end resection and DSB repair pathway choice. We are investigating the crosstalk between the Shieldin-CST and DYNLL1-MRE11 arms of the 53BP1-dependent anti-DNA end resection machinery.

Citation Format: Dipanjan Chowdhury. Deciphering DNA end resection at DSBs [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Virtual Special Conference on Radiation Science and Medicine; 2021 Mar 2-3. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Clin Cancer Res 2021;27(8_Suppl):Abstract nr IA-010.