HDAC1,2 inhibition and doxorubicin impair Mre11-dependent DNA repair and DISC to override BCR-ABL1-driven DSB repair in Philadelphia chromosome-positive B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) expressing BCR-ABL1 oncoprotein is a major subclass of ALL with poor prognosis. BCR-ABL1-expressing leukemic cells are highly dependent on double-strand break (DSB) repair signals for their survival. Here we report that a first-in-class HDAC1,2 selective inhibitor and doxorubicin (a hyper-CVAD chemotherapy regimen component) impair DSB repair networks in Ph+ B-cell precursor ALL cells using common as well as distinct mechanisms. The HDAC1,2 inhibitor but not doxorubicin alters nucleosomal occupancy to impact chromatin structure, as revealed by MNase-Seq. Quantitative mass spectrometry of the chromatin proteome along with functional assays showed that the HDAC1,2 inhibitor and doxorubicin either alone or in combination impair the central hub of DNA repair, the Mre11-Rad51-DNA ligase 1 axis, involved in BCR-ABL1-specific DSB repair signaling in Ph+ B-cell precursor ALL cells. HDAC1,2 inhibitor and doxorubicin interfere with DISC (DNA damage-induced transcriptional silencing in cis)) or transcriptional silencing program in cis around DSB sites via chromatin remodeler-dependent and -independent mechanisms, respectively, to further impair DSB repair. HDAC1,2 inhibitor either alone or when combined with doxorubicin decreases leukemia burden in vivo in refractory Ph+ B-cell precursor ALL patient-derived xenograft mouse models. Overall, our novel mechanistic and preclinical studies together demonstrate that HDAC1,2 selective inhibition can overcome DSB repair ‘addiction’ and provide an effective therapeutic option for Ph+ B-cell precursor ALL.