Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Arsenic exposure disrupts the normal function of the FA/BRCA repair pathway.

PMID 25092648


Chronic arsenic exposure is known to enhance the genotoxicity/carcinogenicity of other DNA-damaging agents by inhibiting DNA repair activities. Interference with nucleotide excision repair and base excision repair are well documented, but interactions with other DNA repair pathways are poorly explored so far. The Fanconi anemia FA/BRCA pathway is a DNA repair mechanism required for maintaining genomic stability and preventing cancer. Here, interactions between arsenic compounds and the FA/BRCA pathway were explored by using isogenic FANCD2(-/-) (FA/BRCA-deficient) and FANCD2(+/+) (FA/BRCA-corrected) human fibroblasts. To study whether arsenic disrupts the normal FA/BRCA function, FANCD2(+/+) cells were preexposed to subtoxic concentrations of the trivalent arsenic compounds methylarsonous acid (MMA(III)) and arsenic trioxide (ATO) for 2 weeks. The cellular response to mitomicin-C, hydroxyurea, or diepoxybutane, typical inducers of the studied pathway, was then evaluated and compared to that of FANCD2(-/-) cells. Our results show that preexposure to the trivalent arsenicals MMA(III) and ATO induces in corrected cells, a cellular FA/BRCA-deficient phenotype characterized by hypersensitivity, enhanced accumulation in the G2/M compartment and increased genomic instability--measured as micronuclei. Overall, our data demonstrate that environmentally relevant arsenic exposures disrupt the normal function of the FA/BRCA activity, supporting a novel source of arsenic co- and carcinogenic effects. This is the first study linking arsenic exposure with the FA/BRCA DNA repair pathway.