The paradigm that microtubule-targeting agents (MTAs) cause cell death via mitotic arrest applies to rapidly dividing cells but cannot explain MTA activity in slowly growing human cancers. Many preferred cancer regimens combine a MTA with a DNA-damaging agent (DDA). We hypothesized that MTAs synergize with DDAs by interfering with trafficking of DNA repair proteins on interphase microtubules. We investigated nine proteins involved in DNA repair: ATM, ATR, DNA-PK, Rad50, Mre11, p95/NBS1, p53, 53BP1, and p63. The proteins were sequestered in the cytoplasm by vincristine and paclitaxel but not by an aurora kinase inhibitor, colocalized with tubulin by confocal microscopy and coimmunoprecipitated with the microtubule motor dynein. Furthermore, adding MTAs to radiation, doxorubicin, or etoposide led to more sustained γ-H2AX levels. We conclude DNA damage-repair proteins traffic on microtubules and addition of MTAs sequesters them in the cytoplasm, explaining why MTA/DDA combinations are common anticancer regimens.
- Combination chemotherapy,targeted therapies
- Dna repair protein trafficking
- DNA-damaging agents
- Microtubule targeting agents