TTF-1, also known as NKX2-1, is a transcription factor that has indispensable roles in both lung development and physiology. We and others have reported that TTF-1 frequently exhibits high expression with increased copy number in lung adenocarcinomas, and also has a role as a lineage-survival oncogene through transcriptional activation of crucial target genes including ROR1 and LMO3. In the present study, we employed a global proteomic search for proteins that interact with TTF-1 in order to provide a more comprehensive picture of this still enigmatic lineage-survival oncogene. Our results unexpectedly revealed a function independent of its transcriptional activity, as TTF-1 was found to interact with DDB1 and block its binding to CHK1, which in turn attenuated ubiquitylation and subsequent degradation of CHK1. Furthermore, TTF-1 overexpression conferred resistance to cellular conditions under DNA replication stress (RS) and prevented an increase in consequential DNA double-strand breaks, as reflected by attenuated induction of pCHK2 and γH2AX. Our findings suggest that the novel non-transcriptional function of TTF-1 identified in this study may contribute to lung adenocarcinoma development by conferring tolerance to DNA RS, which is known to be inherently elicited by activation of various oncogenes.
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