A novel cell-free screen identifies a potent inhibitor of the fanconi anemia pathway

Igor Lanclais, Alexandra Sobeck, Stacie Stone, Alexis LaChapelle, Maureen E. Hoatlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The Fanconi Anemia (FA) DNA damage response pathway is involved in the processing of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs). As such, inhibition of the FA pathway could chemosensitize FA-competent tumor cells to commonly used ICL agents like cisplatin. Moreover, suppression of the FA pathway is synthetic lethal with deiciencies in several other DNA repair pathways, suggesting that FA pathway inhibitors could be used in targeted therapies against speciic tumors. To identify such inhibitors, we designed a novel in vitro screening assay utilizing Xenopus egg extracts. Using the DNA-stimulated monoubiquitylation of Xenopus FANCD2 (xFANCD2-L) as readout, a chemical library screen identiled DDN (2,3-dichloro-5,8-dihvdroxv-l,4-naphthoquinone) as a novel and potent FA pathway inhibitor. DDN inhibited xFANCD2-L formation in a dose-dependent manner in both extracts and human cells without disruption of the upstream FA core complex. DDN also inhibited the characteristic subnuclear FANCD2 foci formation following DNA damage. Moreover, DDN displayed a greater synergistic effect with cisplatin in a FA-proicient cancer cell line compared to its FA-deicient isogenic counterpart, suggesting that DDN might be a good lead candidate as cisplatin che-mosensitizer in both FA-deicient and FA-competent tumors. This system constitutes the first cell-free screening assay for identifying compounds that inhibit the FA pathway and provides a new biochemical platform for mapping the functions of its various components with specific chemical inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)783-792
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Cancer
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Chemosensitization
  • Cisplatin
  • DNA repair
  • Interstrand crosslinks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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