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Crosslink repair depends on the Fanconi anemia pathway and translesion synthesis polymerases that replicate over unhooked crosslinks. Translesion synthesis is regulated via ubiquitination of PCNA, and independently via translesion synthesis polymerase REV1. The division of labor between PCNA-ubiquitination and REV1 in interstrand crosslink repair is unclear. Inhibition of either of these pathways has been proposed as a strategy to increase cytotoxicity of platinating agents in cancer treatment. Here, we defined the importance of PCNA-ubiquitination and REV1 for DNA in mammalian ICL repair. In mice, loss of PCNA-ubiquitination, but not REV1, resulted in germ cell defects and hypersensitivity to cisplatin. Loss of PCNA-ubiquitination, but not REV1 sensitized mammalian cancer cell lines to cisplatin. We identify polymerase Kappa as essential in tolerating DNA damage-induced lesions, in particular cisplatin lesions. Polk-deficient tumors were controlled by cisplatin treatment and it significantly delayed tumor outgrowth and increased overall survival of tumor bearing mice. Our results indicate that PCNA-ubiquitination and REV1 play distinct roles in DNA damage tolerance. Moreover, our results highlight POLK as a critical TLS polymerase in tolerating multiple genotoxic lesions, including cisplatin lesions. The relative frequent loss of Polk in cancers indicates an exploitable vulnerability for precision cancer medicine. © The Author(s) 2022. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


Aldo Spanjaard, Ronak Shah, Daniël de Groot, Olimpia Alessandra Buoninfante, Ben Morris, Cor Lieftink, Colin Pritchard, Lisa M Zürcher, Shirley Ormel, Joyce J I Catsman, Renske de Korte-Grimmerink, Bjørn Siteur, Natalie Proost, Terry Boadum, Marieke van de Ven, Ji-Ying Song, Maaike Kreft, Paul C M van den Berk, Roderick L Beijersbergen, Heinz Jacobs. Division of labor within the DNA damage tolerance system reveals non-epistatic and clinically actionable targets for precision cancer medicine. Nucleic acids research. 2022 Jul 22;50(13):7420-7435

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PMID: 35819193

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