Targeted CRISPR screening identifies PRMT5 as synthetic lethality combinatorial target with gemcitabine in pancreatic cancer cells

Academic Article


  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains one of the most challenging cancers to treat. Due to the asymptomatic nature of the disease and lack of curative treatment modalities, the 5-y survival rate of PDAC patients is one of the lowest of any cancer type. The recurrent genetic alterations in PDAC are yet to be targeted. Therefore, identification of effective drug combinations is desperately needed. Here, we performed an in vivo CRISPR screen in an orthotopic patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model to identify gene targets whose inhibition creates synergistic tumor growth inhibition with gemcitabine (Gem), a first- or second-line chemotherapeutic agent for PDAC treatment. The approach revealed protein arginine methyltransferase gene 5 (PRMT5) as an effective druggable candidate whose inhibition creates synergistic vulnerability of PDAC cells to Gem. Genetic depletion and pharmacological inhibition indicate that loss of PRMT5 activity synergistically enhances Gem cytotoxicity due to the accumulation of excessive DNA damage. At the molecular level, we show that inhibition of PRMT5 results in RPA depletion and impaired homology-directed DNA repair (HDR) activity. The combination (Gem + PRMT5 inhibition) creates conditional lethality and synergistic
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 20477797
  • Author List

  • Wei X; Yang J; Adair SJ; Ozturk H; Kuscu C; Lee KY; Kane WJ; O’Hara PE; Liu D; Demirlenk YM
  • Start Page

  • 28068
  • End Page

  • 28079
  • Volume

  • 117
  • Issue

  • 45