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Degron mediated BRM/SMARCA2 depletion uncovers novel combination partners for treatment of BRG1/SMARCA4-mutant cancers

Rago, Florencia, DiMare, Matthew T., Elliott, GiNell, Ruddy, David A., Sovath, Sosathya, Kerr, Grainne, Bhang, Hyo-eun C., Jagani, Zainab
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.1 pp. 109-116
adenosinetriphosphatase, apoptosis, gene editing, genes, lung neoplasms, mutants, neoplasm cells, oxidative phosphorylation, protein subunits, therapeutics
Recent studies have highlighted that cancer cells with a loss of the SWI/SNF complex catalytic subunit BRG1 are dependent on the remaining ATPase, BRM, making it an attractive target for cancer therapy. However, an understanding of the extent of target inhibition required to arrest cell growth, necessary to develop an appropriate therapeutic strategy, remains unknown. Here, we utilize tunable depletion of endogenous BRM using the SMASh degron, and interestingly observe that BRG1-mutant lung cancer cells require near complete depletion of BRM to robustly inhibit growth both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, to identify pathways that synergize with partial BRM depletion and afford a deeper response, we performed a genome-wide CRISPR screen and discovered a combinatorial effect between BRM depletion and the knockout of various genes of the oxidative phosphorylation pathway and the anti-apoptotic gene MCL1. Together these studies provide an important framework to elucidate the requirements of BRM inhibition in the BRG1-mutant state with implications on the feasibility of targeting BRM alone, as well as reveal novel insights into pathways that can be exploited in combination toward deeper anti-tumor responses.