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Oncogene. 1994 Dec;9(12):3731-6.

Susceptibility to radiation-carcinogenesis and accumulation of chromosomal breakage in p53 deficient mice.

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Division of Molecular and Developmental Biology, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


The p53 tumour suppressor gene is an important participant in the cellular response to ionizing radiation and other DNA damaging agents. Cells which lack p53 are unable to arrest cell cycle or enter into apoptotic cell death following irradiation. Moreover, these p53 deficient cells exhibit an increased resistance to DNA damaging agents, including radiation. The significance of this radiation-resistance and its relationship to the role that p53 plays in tumour suppression and the cellular radiation response has not yet been determined. In this report we have analyzed p53 deficient mice, expressing either a mutant p53 transgene or having a targeted p53 null allele, in order to investigate the role that p53 plays in governing susceptibility to radiation-carcinogenesis and in controlling the in vivo accumulation of chromosomal abnormalities. We show that wild-type p53 plays a critical role in controlling susceptibility to gamma-radiation-induced tumorigenesis, and sarcomas and lymphomas rapidly appear in irradiated p53 transgenic mice. Moreover, this susceptibility to radiation-carcinogenesis is associated with a two-fold increase in the in vivo accumulation of radiation-induced double stranded chromosomal breaks relative to that observed in wild-type animal. Taken together, these observations suggest that p53 acts to suppress tumour formation in vivo by preventing the accumulation of cells that have sustained radiation-induced DNA damage.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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