Actionable loss of SLF2 drives B-cell lymphomagenesis and impairs the DNA damage response

Le Zhang, Matthias Wirth, Upayan Patra, Jacob Stroh, Konstandina Isaakidis, Leonie Rieger, Susanne Kossatz, Maja Milanovic, Chuanbing Zang, Uta Demel, Jan Keiten-Schmitz, Kristina Wagner, Katja Steiger, Roland Rad, Florian Bassermann, Stefan Müller, Ulrich Keller, Markus Schick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The DNA damage response (DDR) acts as a barrier to malignant transformation and is often impaired during tumorigenesis. Exploiting the impaired DDR can be a promising therapeutic strategy; however, the mechanisms of inactivation and corresponding biomarkers are incompletely understood. Starting from an unbiased screening approach, we identified the SMC5-SMC6 Complex Localization Factor 2 (SLF2) as a regulator of the DDR and biomarker for a B-cell lymphoma (BCL) patient subgroup with an adverse prognosis. SLF2-deficiency leads to loss of DDR factors including Claspin (CLSPN) and consequently impairs CHK1 activation. In line with this mechanism, genetic deletion of Slf2 drives lymphomagenesis in vivo. Tumor cells lacking SLF2 are characterized by a high level of DNA damage, which leads to alterations of the post-translational SUMOylation pathway as a safeguard. The resulting co-dependency confers synthetic lethality to a clinically applicable SUMOylation inhibitor (SUMOi), and inhibitors of the DDR pathway act highly synergistic with SUMOi. Together, our results identify SLF2 as a DDR regulator and reveal co-targeting of the DDR and SUMOylation as a promising strategy for treating aggressive lymphoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere16431
JournalEMBO Molecular Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 11 Sep 2023


  • CHK1
  • DNA damage response
  • SLF2
  • SUMO
  • lymphoma


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