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Article

CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Identifies DYRK1A as a Target for Radiotherapy Sensitization in Pancreatic Cancer

1
Department of Surgery, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91054 Erlangen, Germany
2
Translational Radiobiology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), 91054 Erlangen, Germany
3
OncoRay-National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology, Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus Technische Universität Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany
4
Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Institute of Radiooncology-OncoRay, 01328 Dresden, Germany
5
German Cancer Consortium, Partner Site Dresden: German Cancer Research Center, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany
6
Department of Radiotherapy and Radiation Oncology, University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, 01307 Dresden, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Sebastian Schölch, Georg Flügen and Ramzi M. Mohammad
Cancers 2022, 14(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14020326
Received: 14 December 2021 / Revised: 3 January 2022 / Accepted: 4 January 2022 / Published: 10 January 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Preclinical Models of Solid Malignancies)
Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer-related death in Western countries. Although several therapeutic strategies have been developed for pancreatic cancer, radiation therapy has not yet yielded satisfactory results. Unraveling the mechanism of radioresistance in pancreatic cancer and developing new therapeutic targets has become a major challenge. Therefore, we applied kinome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function screening combined with the 3D cell culture method and identified DYRK1A as a sensitive target for radiotherapy. Additionally, we confirmed that DYRK1A-targeted inhibitors could enhance the efficacy of radiotherapy. Our results further support the use of CRISPR-Cas9 screening to identify novel therapeutic targets and develop new strategies to enhance radiotherapy efficacy in pancreatic cancer.
Although radiation therapy has recently made great advances in cancer treatment, the majority of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (PC) cannot achieve satisfactory outcomes due to intrinsic and acquired radioresistance. Identifying the molecular mechanisms that impair the efficacy of radiotherapy and targeting these pathways are essential to improve the radiation response of PC patients. Our goal is to identify sensitive targets for pancreatic cancer radiotherapy (RT) using the kinome-wide CRISPR-Cas9 loss-of-function screen and enhance the therapeutic effect through the development and application of targeted inhibitors combined with radiotherapy. We transduced pancreatic cancer cells with a protein kinase library; 2D and 3D library cells were irradiated daily with a single dose of up to 2 Gy for 4 weeks for a total of 40 Gy using an X-ray generator. Sufficient DNA was collected for next-generation deep sequencing to identify candidate genes. In this study, we identified several cell cycle checkpoint kinases and DNA damage related kinases in 2D- and 3D-cultivated cells, including DYRK1A, whose loss of function sensitizes cells to radiotherapy. Additionally, we demonstrated that the harmine-targeted suppression of DYRK1A used in conjunction with radiotherapy increases DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and impairs homologous repair (HR), resulting in more cancer cell death. Our results support the use of CRISPR-Cas9 screening to identify new therapeutic targets, develop radiosensitizers, and provide novel strategies for overcoming the tolerance of pancreatic cancer to radiotherapy. View Full-Text
Keywords: pancreatic cancer; CRISPR-Cas9; radiotherapy; radioresistance; DYRK1A; Harmine; DNA damage repair; DNA double-strand break pancreatic cancer; CRISPR-Cas9; radiotherapy; radioresistance; DYRK1A; Harmine; DNA damage repair; DNA double-strand break
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lan, B.; Zeng, S.; Zhang, S.; Ren, X.; Xing, Y.; Kutschick, I.; Pfeffer, S.; Frey, B.; Britzen-Laurent, N.; Grützmann, R.; Cordes, N.; Pilarsky, C. CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Identifies DYRK1A as a Target for Radiotherapy Sensitization in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancers 2022, 14, 326. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14020326

AMA Style

Lan B, Zeng S, Zhang S, Ren X, Xing Y, Kutschick I, Pfeffer S, Frey B, Britzen-Laurent N, Grützmann R, Cordes N, Pilarsky C. CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Identifies DYRK1A as a Target for Radiotherapy Sensitization in Pancreatic Cancer. Cancers. 2022; 14(2):326. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14020326

Chicago/Turabian Style

Lan, Bin, Siyuan Zeng, Shuman Zhang, Xiaofan Ren, Yuming Xing, Isabella Kutschick, Susanne Pfeffer, Benjamin Frey, Nathalie Britzen-Laurent, Robert Grützmann, Nils Cordes, and Christian Pilarsky. 2022. "CRISPR-Cas9 Screen Identifies DYRK1A as a Target for Radiotherapy Sensitization in Pancreatic Cancer" Cancers 14, no. 2: 326. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers14020326

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