Treatment of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) remains an unmet clinical need owing to its lack of an efficient therapeutic target. The targeting of DNA repair by poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitors has shown benefit for patients with the BRCA variation. However, sensitivities to the PARP inhibitors were reported regardless of BRCA status. Thus, exploring the underlying mechanisms is imperative. Herein, we identified that breast cancer cells with an elevated expression of protein arginine methyl transferase 1 (PRMT1) was associated with therapeutic sensitivity to the PARP inhibitor olaparib. The results of cell viability and colony formation assays indicated that the suppression of PRMT1 by small hairpin RNA or by the chemical inhibitor increased sensitivity to olaparib in human TNBC MDA-MB-231 and BT549 cells. Bioinformatic analysis revealed that PRMT1 expression was significantly associated with the MYC signature, and TNBC cells with higher PRMT1 and the MYC signature were associated with therapeutic sensitivity to olaparib. Mechanistic studies further demonstrated that knockdown of PRMT1 reduced the c-Myc protein level and downregulated the expression of MYC downstream targets, whereas overexpression of PRMT1 enhanced c-Myc protein expression. Moreover, the overexpression of PRMT1 promoted c-Myc protein stability, and the inhibition of PRMT1 downregulated c-Myc protein stability. Accordingly, the knockdown of PRMT1 inhibited homologous recombination gene expression. These data indicate that PRMT1 is instrumental in regulating DNA repair, at least in part, by modulating c-Myc signaling. Our data highlighted the PRMT1/c-Myc network as a potential therapeutic target in patients with TNBC.
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