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Oncogene. 2003 Jul 3;22(27):4205-11.

The radioresistance biological function of the SCF/kit signaling pathway is mediated by the zinc-finger transcription factor Slug.

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Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer, CSIC/Universidad de Salamanca, Campus Unamuno, 37007-Salamanca, Spain.


Radiation-induced destruction of the hematopoietic system is the primary cause of death based on the findings that transfer of normal bone marrow cells prevents death from lethal irradiation. The stem cell factor-c-kit signaling pathway (SCF/c-kit) has been previously implicated in the hematopoietic recovery which prevents death from lethal irradiation, but the molecular mechanisms that mediate this biological effect are unknown. Since mutations on SCF, c-kit and Slug genes have a similar phenotype in mice, we examined if Slug could complement the radiosensitivity of kit-deficient mice. In this report, we show that Slug acts as a radioprotection agent as lack of Slug results in increased radiosensitivity. This effect cannot be recovered by activating SCF/c-kit in lethally irradiated Slug-deficient mice, as SCF-treated mice did not demonstrate stimulation of hematopoietic recovery leading to survival of the Slug-deficient mice. We found that we could complement the hematopoietic failure in lethally irradiated c-kit-deficient mice by transducing them with a TAT-Slug protein. We conclude that the zinc-finger transcription factor Slug is absolutely necessary for survival from lethal irradiation and identify Slug as the molecular target that mediates the radioprotection through SCF/c-kit. These results indicate that Slug may be a molecular component conferring radioresistance to cancer cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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