Genome instability is a hallmark of cancer cells. One class of genome aberrations prevalent in tumor cells is termed gross chromosomal rearrangements (GCRs). GCRs comprise chromosome translocations, amplifications, inversions, deletion of whole chromosome arms, and interstitial deletions. Here, we report the results of a genome-wide screen in Saccharomyces cerevisiae aimed at identifying novel suppressors of GCR formation. The most potent novel GCR suppressor identified is BUD16, the gene coding for yeast pyridoxal kinase (Pdxk), a key enzyme in the metabolism of pyridoxal 5' phosphate (PLP), the biologically active form of vitamin B6. We show that Pdxk potently suppresses GCR events by curtailing the appearance of DNA lesions during the cell cycle. We also show that pharmacological inhibition of Pdxk in human cells leads to the production of DSBs and activation of the DNA damage checkpoint. Finally, our evidence suggests that PLP deficiency threatens genome integrity, most likely via its role in dTMP biosynthesis, as Pdxk-deficient cells accumulate uracil in their nuclear DNA and are sensitive to inhibition of ribonucleotide reductase. Since Pdxk links diet to genome stability, our work supports the hypothesis that dietary micronutrients reduce cancer risk by curtailing the accumulation of DNA damage and suggests that micronutrient depletion could be part of a defense mechanism against hyperproliferation.
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