Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

A stapled peptide mimetic of the CtIP tetramerization motif interferes with double-strand break repair and replication fork protection

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Science Advances  19 Feb 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 8, eabc6381
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc6381

Abstract

Cancer cells display high levels of DNA damage and replication stress, vulnerabilities that could be exploited by drugs targeting DNA repair proteins. Human CtIP promotes homology-mediated repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and protects stalled replication forks from nucleolytic degradation, thus representing an attractive candidate for targeted cancer therapy. Here, we establish a peptide mimetic of the CtIP tetramerization motif that inhibits CtIP activity. The hydrocarbon-stapled peptide encompassing amino acid residues 18 to 28 of CtIP (SP18–28) stably binds to CtIP tetramers in vitro and facilitates their aggregation into higher-order structures. Efficient intracellular uptake of SP18–28 abrogates CtIP localization to damaged chromatin, impairs DSB repair, and triggers extensive fork degradation. Moreover, prolonged SP18–28 treatment causes hypersensitivity to DNA-damaging agents and selectively reduces the viability of BRCA1-mutated cancer cell lines. Together, our data provide a basis for the future development of CtIP-targeting compounds with the potential to treat patients with cancer.

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