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DNA damage has been shown to induce autophagy, but the role of autophagy in the DNA damage response and cell fate is not fully understood. BO-1012, a bifunctional alkylating derivative of 3a-aza-cyclopenta[a]indene, is a potent DNA interstrand cross-linking agent with anticancer activity. In this study, BO-1012 was found to reduce DNA synthesis, inhibit S phase progression, and induce phosphorylation of histone H2AX on serine 139 (γH2AX) exclusively in S phase cells. Both CHK1 and CHK2 were phosphorylated in response to BO-1012 treatment, but only depletion of CHK1, but not CHK2, impaired BO-1012-induced S phase arrest and facilitated the entry of γH2AX-positive cells into G2 phase. CHK1 depletion also significantly enhanced BO-1012-induced cell death and apoptosis. These results indicate that BO-1012-induced S phase arrest is a CHK1-dependent pro-survival response. BO-1012 also resulted in marked induction of acidic vesicular organelle (AVO) formation and microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3) processing and redistribution, features characteristic of autophagy. Depletion of ATG7 or co-treatment of cells with BO-1012 and either 3-methyladenine or bafilomycin A1, two inhibitors of autophagy, not only reduced CHK1 phosphorylation and disrupted S phase arrest, but also increased cleavage of caspase-9 and PARP, and cell death. These results suggest that cells initiate S phase arrest and autophagy as pro-survival responses to BO-1012-induced DNA damage, and that suppression of autophagy enhances BO-1012-induced apoptosis via disruption of CHK1-dependent S phase arrest.Autophagy inhibitors enhanced the cytotoxicity of a DNA alkylating agent, BO-1012.BO-1012-induced S phase arrest was a CHK1-dependent pro-survival response.Autophagy inhibition enhanced BO-1012 cytotoxicity via disrupting the S phase arrest.