BRCA2 controls RAD51 recombinase during homologous DNA recombination (HDR) through eight evolutionarily conserved BRC repeats, which individually engage RAD51 via the motif Phe-x-x-Ala. Using structure-guided molecular design, templated on a monomeric thermostable chimera between human RAD51 and archaeal RadA, we identify CAM833, a 529 Da orthosteric inhibitor of RAD51:BRC with a Kd of 366 nM. The quinoline of CAM833 occupies a hotspot, the Phe-binding pocket on RAD51 and the methyl of the substituted α-methylbenzyl group occupies the Ala-binding pocket. In cells, CAM833 diminishes formation of damage-induced RAD51 nuclear foci; inhibits RAD51 molecular clustering, suppressing extended RAD51 filament assembly; potentiates cytotoxicity by ionizing radiation, augmenting 4N cell-cycle arrest and apoptotic cell death and works with poly-ADP ribose polymerase (PARP)1 inhibitors to suppress growth in BRCA2-wildtype cells. Thus, chemical inhibition of the protein-protein interaction between BRCA2 and RAD51 disrupts HDR and potentiates DNA damage-induced cell death, with implications for cancer therapy.
Keywords: BRCA2; DNA repair; RAD51; RAD51 inhibitor; cancer therapy; homologous recombination; protein-protein interaction inhibition; radiosensitizer; structure-guided drug discovery.
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