BRCA1-deficient cells show defects in DNA repair and rely on other members of the DNA repair machinery, which makes them sensitive to PARP inhibitors (PARPi). Although carrying a germline pathogenic variant in BRCA1/2 is the best determinant of response to PARPi, a significant percentage of the patients do not show sensitivity and/or display increased toxicity to the agent. Considering previously suggested mutation-specific BRCA1 haploinsufficiency, we aimed to investigate whether there are any differences in cellular response to PARPi olaparib depending on the BRCA1 mutation type. Lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from carriers of missense pathogenic variants in the BRCA1 BRCT domain (c.5117G > A, p.Gly1706Glu and c.5123C > A, p.Ala1708Glu) showed higher sensitivity to olaparib than cells with truncating variants or wild types (WT). Response to olaparib depended on a basal PARP enzymatic activity, but did not correlate with PARP1 expression. Interestingly, cellular sensitivity to the agent was associated with the level of BRCA1 recruitment into γH2AX foci, being the lowest in cells with missense variants. Since these variants lead to partially stable protein mutants, we propose a model in which the mutant protein acts in a dominant negative manner on the WT BRCA1, impairing the recruitment of BRCA1 into DNA damage sites and, consequently, increasing cellular sensitivity to PARPi. Taken together, our results indicate that carriers of different BRCA1 mutations could benefit from olaparib in a distinct way and show different toxicities to the agent, which could be especially relevant for a potential future use of PARPi as prophylactic agents in BRCA1 mutation carriers.

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