Journal Article

Inverse correlation between p53 protein levels and DNA repair efficiency in human fibroblast strains treated with 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide: evidence that lesions other than DNA strand breaks trigger the p53 response

Razmik Mirzayans, Saber Bashir, David Murray and Malcolm C. Paterson

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 20, issue 6, pages 941-946
Published in print June 1999 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online June 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/20.6.941
Inverse correlation between p53 protein levels and DNA repair efficiency in human fibroblast strains treated with 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide: evidence that lesions other than DNA strand breaks trigger the p53 response

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Ionizing radiation-induced stabilization and the resultant transient accumulation of the p53 tumor suppressor protein is impaired in cells from ataxia telangiectasia (AT) patients, indicating a key role for ATM, the gene mutated in AT, upstream in the radiation-responsive p53 signaling pathway. Activation of this pathway is generally assumed to be triggered by DNA strand breaks produced directly following genotoxic stress or indirectly during excision repair of DNA lesions. The aim of this study was to identify the triggering signal for induction of p53 in diploid human dermal fibroblasts treated with 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO), a model environmental carcinogen that produces both DNA strand breaks (like ionizing radiation) and alkali-stable bulky DNA lesions (like UV light). 4NQO treatment of fibroblasts cultured from normal and AT donors and those from patients with the UV-hypersensitivity disorder xeroderma pigmentosum (XP, complementation groups A, E and G) resulted in up-regulation of p53 protein. In normal fibroblasts, there was no temporal relationship between the incidence of DNA strand breaks and levels of p53 protein; >90% of strand breaks and alkali-labile sites were repaired over 2 h following treatment with 1 μM 4NQO, whereas ~3 h of post-treatment incubation was required to demonstrate a significant rise in p53 protein. In contrast, exposure of normal fibroblasts to γ-rays resulted in a rapid up-regulation of p53 and the level peaked at 2 h post-irradiation. XP cells with a severe deficiency in the nucleotide excision repair pathway showed abnormally high levels of p53 protein in response to 4NQO treatment, indicating that lesions other than incision-associated DNA strand breaks trigger p53 up-regulation. We observed a consistent, inverse correlation between the ability of the various fibroblast cultures to induce p53 following 4NQO treatment and their DNA repair efficiencies. Treatment with 0.12 μM 4NQO, for example, caused a >2-fold up-regulation of p53 in excision repair-deficient (AT, XPA and XPG) strains without eliciting any effect on p53 levels in repair-proficient (normal and XPE) strains. We conclude that up-regulation of p53 by 4NQO is mediated solely by an ATM-independent mechanism and that the p53 response is primarily triggered by persistent alkali-stable 4NQO–DNA adducts.

Keywords: AT, ataxia telangiectasia; dThd, thymidine; 4NQO, 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide; XP, xeroderma pigmentosum.

Journal Article.  4557 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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