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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Relationship between DNA double-strand break rejoining and cell survival after exposure to ionizing radiation in human fibroblast strains with differing ATM/p53 status: Implications for evaluation of clinical radiosensitivity.

Purpose: To better understand the impact of defects in the DNA damage-surveillance network on the various cell-based assays used for the prediction of patient radiosensitivity. Methods and Materials: We examined noncancerous human fibroblast strains from individuals with ataxia telangiectasia (ataxia telangiectasia mutated [ATM] deficient) or Li-Fraumeni syndrome (p53 deficient) using the neutral comet, H2AX phosphorylation, and clonogenic survival assays. Results: Using the comet assay, we found that, compared with normal fibroblasts, cells lacking either ATM or p53 function exhibited a reduced rate of double-strand break (DSB) rejoining early (</=4 h) after exposure to 8 Gy of gamma-radiation and also exhibited high levels of unrejoined DSBs later after irradiation. ATM-deficient and p53-deficient fibroblasts also exhibited abnormally increased levels of phosphorylated H2AX (gamma-H2AX) at later intervals after irradiation. In the clonogenic assay, ATM-deficient cells exhibited marked radiosensitivity and p53-deficient cells had varying degrees of radioresistance compared with normal fibroblasts. Conclusion: Regardless of whether ataxia telangiectasia and Li-Fraumeni syndrome fibroblasts are DSB-repair deficient per se, it is apparent that p53 and ATM defects greatly influence the cellular phenotype as evidenced by the neutral comet and gamma-H2AX assays. Our data suggest that the gamma-H2AX levels observed at later intervals after irradiation may represent a reliable measure of the overall DSB rejoining capabilities of human fibroblasts. However, it appears that using this parameter as a predictor of radiosensitivity without knowledge of the cells' p53 status could lead to incorrect conclusions.[1]


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