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Cancer Res. 2008 Oct 15;68(20):8304-11. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-1212.

Targeted and nontargeted effects of ionizing radiation that impact genomic instability.

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Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720, USA.


Radiation-induced genomic instability, in which the progeny of irradiated cells display a high frequency of nonclonal genomic damage, occurs at a frequency inconsistent with mutation. We investigated the mechanism of this nontargeted effect in human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC) exposed to low doses of radiation. We identified a centrosome-associated expression signature in irradiated HMEC and show here that centrosome deregulation occurs in the first cell cycle after irradiation, is dose dependent, and that viable daughters of these cells are genomically unstable as evidenced by spontaneous DNA damage, tetraploidy, and aneuploidy. Clonal analysis of genomic instability showed a threshold of >10 cGy. Treatment with transforming growth factor beta1 (TGFbeta), which is implicated in regulation of genomic stability and is activated by radiation, reduced both the centrosome expression signature and centrosome aberrations in irradiated HMEC. Furthermore, TGFbeta inhibition significantly increased centrosome aberration frequency, tetraploidy, and aneuploidy in nonirradiated HMEC. Rather than preventing radiation-induced or spontaneous centrosome aberrations, TGFbeta selectively deleted unstable cells via p53-dependent apoptosis. Together, these studies show that radiation deregulates centrosome stability, which underlies genomic instability in normal human epithelial cells, and that this can be opposed by radiation-induced TGFbeta signaling.

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