Inhibition of DNA-dependent Protein Kinase by Blocking Interaction between Ku Complex and Catalytic Subunit of DNA-dependent Protein Kinase

  • Kim, Chung-Hui (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine, Inje University) ;
  • Cuong, Dang-Van (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine, Inje University) ;
  • Kim, Jong-Su (Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Gyeongsang National University) ;
  • Kim, Na-Ri (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine, Inje University) ;
  • Kim, Eui-Yong (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine, Inje University) ;
  • Han, Jin (Department of Physiology and Biophysics, College of Medicine, Inje University)
  • Published : 2003.02.21


Recent studies indicated that cancer cells become resistant to ionizing radiation (IR) and chemotherapy drugs by enhanced DNA repair of the lesions. Therefore, it is expected to increase the killing of cancer cells and reduce drug resistance by inhibiting DNA repair pathways that tumor cells rely on to escape chemotherapy. There are a number of key human DNA repair pathways which depend on multimeric polypeptide activities. For example, Ku heterodimer regulatory DNA binding subunits (Ku70/Ku80) on binding to double strand DNA breaks (DSBs) are able to interact with 470-kDa DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs), and are essential for DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity. It has been known that DNA-PK is an important factor for DNA repair and also is a sensor-transmitting damage signal to downstream targets, leading to cell cycles arrest. Our ultimate goal is to develop a treatment of breast tumors by targeting proteins involved in damage-signaling pathway and/or DNA repair. This would greatly facilitate tumor cell cytotoxic activity and programmed cell death through DNA damaging drug treatment. Therefore, we designed a domain of Ku80 mutants that binds to Ku70 but not DNA end binding activity and used the peptide in co-therapy strategy to see whether the targeted inhibition of DNA-PK activity sensitized breast cancer cells to irradiation or chemotherapy drug. We observed that the synthesized peptide (HNI-38) prevented DNA-PKcs from binding to Ku70/Ku80, thus resulting in inactivation of DNA-PK activity. Consequently, the peptide treated cells exhibited poor to no DNA repair, and became highly sensitive to IR or chemotherapy drugs, and the growth of breast cancer cells was inhibited. Additionally, the results obtained in the present study also support the physiological role of resistance of cancer cells to IR or chemotherapy.


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