Kinetics and dose-response of residual 53BP1/gamma-H2AX foci: co-localization, relationship with DSB repair and clonogenic survival

E Markov√°, N Schultz, I Y Belyaev
International Journal of Radiation Biology 2007, 83 (5): 319-29

PURPOSE: Recent studies revealed that some foci produced by phosphorylated histone 2A family member X (gamma-H2AX) and tumor suppressor p53 binding protein 1 (53BP1) that co-localize with radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) remain in cells at relatively long times after irradiation and indicated a possible correlation between cellular radiosensitivity and residual foci. In this study, we investigated dose-responses and kinetics for radiation-induced 53BP1/gamma-H2AX foci formation in relation to their co-localization, DSB repair and cell survival.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cell survival, DSB and foci were analyzed by clonogenic assay, pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE), and confocal laser microscopy, respectively, in normal human fibroblasts (VH-10) and in a cancer cell line (HeLa). Computer analysis was used to determine both the number and the area of foci.

RESULTS: We show that even at doses down to 1 cGy a statistically significant induction of 53BP1 foci is observed. While the number of foci was found to constantly decrease with post-irradiation time, the per-cell normalized area of foci does not change within a time window of approximately 4 h post-irradiation. Co-localization of gamma-H2AX and 53BP1 foci is shown to depend on dose and post-irradiation time. No clear correlations were established between radiosensitivity and foci formation because the dose response for 53BP1/gamma-H2AX foci may depend on time after irradiation and duration of the cell cycle. We show that the kinetics of foci disappearance within 24 h post-irradiation do not coincide with those of DSB repair.

CONCLUSIONS: The data suggest that the post-irradiation time used for estimation of radiosensitivity at therapeutically relevant low doses (e.g., <3 Gy) in proliferating cells by scoring residual foci should be limited by the duration of the cell cycle, and that direct comparison of the kinetics of DSB repair and disappearance of DSB-co-localizing foci is not possible. Therefore, results obtained from the counting of foci should be interpreted with caution in terms of DSB repair.

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