The Tousled-like kinases (TLKs) are involved in chromatin assembly, DNA repair, and transcription. Two TLK genes exist in humans, and their expression is often dysregulated in cancer. TLKs phosphorylate Asf1 and Rad9, regulating double-strand break (DSB) repair and the DNA damage response (DDR). TLKs maintain genomic stability and are important therapeutic intervention targets. We identified specific inhibitors of TLKs from several compound libraries, some of which belong to the family of phenothiazine antipsychotics. The inhibitors prevented the TLK-mediated phosphorylation of Rad9(S328) and impaired checkpoint recovery and DSB repair. The inhibitor thioridazine (THD) potentiated tumor killing with chemotherapy and also had activity alone. Staining for γ-H2AX revealed few positive cells in untreated tumors, but large numbers in mice treated with low doxorubicin or THD alone, possibly the result of the accumulation of DSBs that are not promptly repaired as they may occur in the harsh tumor growth environment.
- DNA damage response
- inhibitors of Tousled kinases
- mechanism of DSB repair
- radiomimetic sensitizers