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Radiat Res. 1999 Feb;151(2):159-66.

Wortmannin sensitizes mammalian cells to radiation by inhibiting the DNA-dependent protein kinase-mediated rejoining of double-strand breaks.

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Department of Radiological Health Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523, USA.


Wortmannin has been shown to be an efficient radiosensitizer. Since wortmannin is able to inhibit DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) and double-strand break (DSB) rejoining, it is believed that its mechanism of radiation sensitization is through the inhibition of DNA-PK-mediated repair of DSBs. However, since wortmannin is not a specific inhibitor, the possibility that other kinases are inhibited and thereby may contribute to radiosensitization cannot be ruled out. Here we present data confirming the radiosensitizing effect of wortmannin on cells of different cell lines. In the same range of wortmannin concentrations, survival after exposure to ionizing radiation correlated well with DSB rejoining and the induction of micronuclei, suggesting that the inhibition of the processing of DSBs is involved in the sensitizing effect. Pretreatment with wortmannin enhanced the radiosensitivity of ataxia telangiectasia (AT) cells, thereby precluding the participation of ATM protein in the radiation sensitization by wortmannin. At the same time, irradiated DNA-PK-deficient cells were not significantly affected by pretreatment with wortmannin. These observations support a likely mechanism; that is, wortmannin sensitizes cells to radiation through inhibition of the DNA-PK-mediated rejoining of DSBs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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