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Oncogene. 1998 Apr 9;16(14):1789-802.

Radioresistant MTp53-expressing rat embryo cell transformants exhibit increased DNA-dsb rejoining during exposure to ionizing radiation.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Toronto, The Ontario Cancer Institute/The Princess Margaret Hospital, Canada.


Recent data suggest that aberrant function of the wild type p53 protein (WTp53) may alter cellular survival following DNA damage through cellular pathways involving apoptosis and cell-cycle checkpoints, but little is known concerning it's possible role in DNA repair. In the present study, the ionizing radiation sensitivity was determined for a series of rat embryo fibroblast (REF) cell lines transfected with an activated form of the H-ras oncogene alone, or in combination with a variety of missense-mutant p53 (MTp53) alleles. Transformed REF clones which expressed exogenous MTp53 and p21ras proteins (CLASS II clones) were generally radioresistant in culture as determined by higher values for the surviving fraction after 2 Gy (SF2 value) and the radiation dose required to reduce survival to a fraction of 0.1 (D10 value), compared either to transformed REF clones expressing p21ras protein alone (CLASS I clones), or to non-transfected REF control cell lines expressing baseline endogenous levels of p21ras and WTp53 protein. The increased radioresistance observed in the CLASS II clones (following both HDR- and LDR-irradiation), was significantly correlated with increased expression of MTp53 protein, and a decreased radiation-induced G1 arrest response. The variability observed in clonogenic radiosensitivity among REF clones was not explained by differential radiation-induced apoptosis. Using the Comet assay performed after continuous low dose-rate (LDR)-irradiation, MTp53-expressing REF clones were also found to be more proficient at the rejoining of DNA double-strand breaks (DNA-dsb), compared to WTp53-expressing REF clones. These results suggest that an enhanced DNA and cellular repair capacity may, in part, explain the increased radiation survival observed in some MTp53-expressing transformed fibroblasts and tumours.

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