Breast cancer is a heterogeneous tumor type characterized by a complex spectrum of molecular aberrations resulting in a diverse array of malignant features and clinical outcomes. the DNA damage response in breast cancer impacting on the expression and activity of the stress-sensor kinase ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM). We report that miR-181a and miR-181b were overexpressed in more aggressive breast cancers and their expression correlates inversely with ATM levels. Moreover we demonstrate that deregulated expression of miR-181a/b determines the sensitivity of triple-negative breast cancer cells to the poly-ADP-ribose-polymerase1 (PARP1) inhibition. These evidences suggest that monitoring the expression of miR-181a/b could be helpful in tailoring more effective treatments based on inhibition of PARP1 in breast and other tumor types. Keywords: breast cancer microRNA DNA damage response ATM BRCA1 BRCAness PARP inhibitors Introduction The relevance of the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway in providing a cell-intrinsic barrier against cancer progression has clearly emerged in the last years. Experimental and clinical data indicated that DDR activation occurs at early stages of transformation as a consequence of oncogene deregulation and bypassing its growth-suppressive outcomes (apoptosis or senescence)1 is required for cancer progression.2 Consequently cancer cells are under positive 1400W 2HCl selective pressure for DDR inactivation as frequently observed in breast cancer where inherited inactivating mutations of critical DDR components including ATM and the breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and 2 (BRCA1/2) predispose to the development of hereditary breast carcinomas.3 4 In contrast in sporadic breast cancers which account for nearly 90% of all mammary tumors ATM and BRCA1 mutations are detected in only 2% of cases (www.sanger.ac.uk/genetics/CGP/cosmic). Nonetheless reduced expression and activity of BRCA1 and ATM are frequent events in sporadic breast tumors.5 1400W 2HCl 6 This has been reported to occur as a consequence of either promoter 1400W 2HCl methylation 7 deregulated transcriptional control8 or aberrant regulation by microRNAs (miRNAs).9-12 In particular downregulation of ATM and/or BRCA1 has been frequently observed in more aggressive breast cancers such as the Basal-like and triple-negative (TNBC i.e. ER-/PR-/HER-2 tumors) breast cancers subtypes. These two groups of tumors show a high degree of overlap and frequently display a phenotype defined “BRCAness”13 that is characterized by traits 1400W 2HCl similar to BRCA-mutated breast tumors including lack of estrogen receptor high grade aggressiveness and frequent TP53 mutations.14 Despite this role in malignancies the molecular basis of BRCAness is still largely unclear. Filling this gap in knowledge would be of particular relevance from a therapeutic perspective since deficiency in proteins involved in the DDR and in DNA double-strand break repair by homologous recombination (HR) is considered a major determinant of response to chemotherapy.15 For instance ATM or BRCA1-deficient tumors display an extreme sensitivity to radiotherapy and chemotherapeutic agents (i.e. platinum-derivates) 16 and a selective “synthetic lethal” effect can be achieved with the pharmacological inhibition of the DNA repair protein poly (ADP-Ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1).17 In addition to genetic and epigenetic changes aberrant post-transcriptional modulation of gene expression by miRNAs Mouse monoclonal antibody to Protein Phosphatase 2 alpha. This gene encodes the phosphatase 2A catalytic subunit. Protein phosphatase 2A is one of thefour major Ser/Thr phosphatases, and it is implicated in the negative control of cell growth anddivision. It consists of a common heteromeric core enzyme, which is composed of a catalyticsubunit and a constant regulatory subunit, that associates with a variety of regulatory subunits.This gene encodes an alpha isoform of the catalytic subunit. is emerging among major factors contributing to the unbalance of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in human cancers.18 miRNAs are small RNAs that finely regulate 1400W 2HCl gene expression at the post-transcriptional level by interacting with the 3′UTR of their target transcripts through partial sequence complementarity 19 dampening mRNA translation or triggering its degradation.20 Several reports indicate that altered expression of specific microRNAs strongly contributes to tumorigenic hallmarks of breast cancer including stemness 21 deregulated proliferation 22 genomic instability11 and metastatic potential 23 and recently it has been suggested that miRNAs directly targeting BRCA1 (e.g. miR-182 and.