Induction and persistence of large γH2AX foci by high linear energy transfer radiation in DNA-dependent protein kinase-deficient cells

Candelaria Bracalente, Irene L Ibañez, Beatriz Molinari, Mónica Palmieri, Andrés Kreiner, Alejandro Valda, Jorge Davidson, Hebe Durán
International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics 2013 November 15, 87 (4): 785-94

PURPOSE: To evaluate the cell response to DNA double-strand breaks induced by low and high linear energy transfer (LET) radiations when the catalytic subunit of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PKcs), an essential protein of the nonhomologous end-joining repair pathway, lacks kinase activity.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: CHO10B2, a Chinese hamster ovary cell line, and its derived radiosensitive mutant cell line, irs-20, lacking DNA-PKcs activity, were evaluated after 0 to 3 Gy of γ-rays, plateau and Bragg peak protons, and lithium beams by clonogenic assay, and as a measurement of double-strand breaks, phosphorylated H2AX (γH2AX) foci number and size were quantified by immunocytofluorescence.

RESULTS: Irs-20 exhibited greater radiosensitivity and a higher amount of γH2AX foci than CHO10B2 at 6 hours after irradiation for all types of radiations. Remarkably, CHO10B2 and irs-20 maintained their difference in radiosensitivity after high-LET radiation. Six hours after low-LET radiations, irs-20 did not reach basal levels of γH2AX at high doses, whereas CHO10B2 recovered basal levels for all doses. After high-LET radiation, only CHO10B2 exhibited a reduction in γH2AX foci, but it never reached basal levels. Persistent foci in irs-20 confirmed a repair deficiency. Interestingly, after 30 minutes of high-LET radiation both cell lines exhibited large foci (size>0.9 μm2) related to the damage nature, whereas at 6 hours irs-20 showed a higher amount of large foci than CHO10B2, with a 7-fold increase at 3 Gy, that could also be associated to radiosensitivity.

CONCLUSIONS: We demonstrated, for the first time, an association between deficient DNA-PKcs activity and not only high levels of H2AX phosphorylation but also persistence and size increase of γH2AX foci after high-LET irradiation.

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