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Radiat Res. 2003 Apr;159(4):439-52.

Epidermal growth factor and ionizing radiation up-regulate the DNA repair genes XRCC1 and ERCC1 in DU145 and LNCaP prostate carcinoma through MAPK signaling.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298, USA.


This work examined the importance of radiation-induced and ligand-induced EGFR-ERK signaling for the regulation of DNA repair proteins XRCC1 and ERCC1 in prostate carcinoma cells, DU145 (TP53(mut)), displaying EGFR-TGFA-dependent autocrine growth and high MAPK (ERK1/2) activity, and LNCaP (TP53(wt)) cells expressing low constitutive levels of ERK1/2 activity. Using quantitative RT-PCR and Western analyses, we determined that ionizing radiation activated the DNA repair genes XRCC1 and ERCC1 in an ERK1/2-dependent fashion for each cell line. After irradiation, a rapid increase followed by a decrease in ERK1/2 activity preceded the increase in XRCC1/ERCC1 expression in DU145 cells, while only the rapid decrease in ERK1/2 preceded the increase in XRCC1/ERCC1 expression in LNCaP cells. Administration of EGF, however, markedly increased the up-regulation of phospho-ERK, ERCC1 and XRCC1 in both cell lines. Although the EGFR inhibitor tyrphostin (AG-1478) and the MEK inhibitor PD90859 both attenuated EGF-induced levels of the ERCC1 and XRCC1 protein, PD98059 blocked the induction of ERCC1 and XRCC1 by radiation more effectively in both cell lines. Inhibition of ERK at a level that reduced the up-regulation of DNA repair led to the persistence of apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) sites of DNA damage and increased cell killing. Taken together, these data imply a complex control of DNA repair activation that may be more generally dependent on MAPK (ERK1/2) signaling than was previously noted. These data provide novel insights into the capacity of the EGFR-ERK signaling to modulate DNA repair in cancer cells and into the functional significance of this signaling.

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