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Mol Carcinog. 1997 Dec;20(4):340-7.

Prolonged p53 protein accumulation in trichothiodystrophy fibroblasts dependent on unrepaired pyrimidine dimers on the transcribed strands of cellular genes.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Institut de Recherches sur le Cancer/Institut Fédératif du CNRS 1, Villejuif, France.


Trichothiodistrophy (TTD), xeroderma pigmentosum (XP), and Cockayne's syndrome (CS) are three distinct human diseases with sensitivity to ultraviolet (UV) radiation affected by mutations in genes involved in nucleotide excision repair (NER). Among the many responses of human cells to UV irradiation, both nuclear accumulation of p53, a tumor suppressor protein, and alterations in cell-cycle checkpoints play crucial roles. The purpose of this study was to define the signals transmitted after UV-C-induced DNA damage, which activates p53 accumulation in TTD/XP-D fibroblasts, and compare this with XP-D cell lines that carry different mutations in the same gene, XPD. Our results showed that p53 was rapidly induced in the nuclei of TTD/XP-D and XP-D fibroblasts in a dose-dependent manner after UV-C irradiation, as seen in XP-A and CS-A fibroblasts, much lower doses being required for the protein accumulation than in normal human fibroblasts, XP variant cells, and XP-C cells. The kinetics of accumulation of p53 and two effector proteins involved in cell-cycle arrest, WAF1 and GADD45, were also directly related to the repair potential of the cells, as in normal human fibroblasts their levels declined after 24 h, the time required for repair of UV-induced lesions, whereas NER-deficient TTD/XP-D cells showed p53, WAF1, and GADD45 accumulation for over 72 h after irradiation. Our results indicate that p53 accumulation followed by transcriptional activation of genes implicated in growth arrest is triggered in TTD/XP-D cells by the persistence of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, which are known to block transcription, on the transcribed strands of active genes.

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