Mutational inactivation of ATRX (α-thalassemia mental retardation X-linked) represents a defining molecular alteration in large subsets of malignant glioma. Yet the pathogenic consequences of ATRX deficiency remain unclear, as do tractable mechanisms for its therapeutic targeting. Here we report that ATRX loss in isogenic glioma model systems induces replication stress and DNA damage by way of G-quadruplex (G4) DNA secondary structure. Moreover, these effects are associated with the acquisition of disease-relevant copy number alterations over time. We then demonstrate, both in vitro and in vivo, that ATRX deficiency selectively enhances DNA damage and cell death following chemical G4 stabilization. Finally, we show that G4 stabilization synergizes with other DNA-damaging therapies, including ionizing radiation, in the ATRX-deficient context. Our findings reveal novel pathogenic mechanisms driven by ATRX deficiency in glioma, while also pointing to tangible strategies for drug development.
- DNA damage
- synthetic lethality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)