Cultured TN-368 lepidopteran insect cells exhibit a pronounced resistance to the lethal effects of a variety of physical agents, including X rays and 254 nm UV light, as well as a large number of chemicals. The resistance to ionizing radiation has previously been associated with an inducible process which is not expressed in unirradiated cells or cells receiving less than some minimal amount of radiation necessary for activating the process. The studies in this paper were initiated in an attempt to identify and characterize the inducible proteins associated with the marked radiation resistance of the TN-368 cells. Cells were exposed to doses of 0, 25, 64 or 350 Gy of137 Cs γ rays and incubated either for 3 h in medium containing [35 S]methionine or for 2 h without labeling. Labeled cells were separated into nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions and proteins were analyzed on two-dimensional polyacrylamide gels. Unlabeled cells were used to isolate total RNA which was translated in vitro in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system with35 S label. These translation products were also analyzed by two-dimensional electrophoresis. Gamma irradiation of the TN-368 cells resulted in the de novo synthesis of several proteins as well as the complete inhibition of others. The number of such proteins identified was 19. These proteins ranged in size from 18-73 kDa, with a pI distribution of 4.7 to 6.1. In addition to the unique proteins, a large number of other proteins were also either up- or down-regulated. These observations were made in both nuclear and cytoplasmic fractions as well as in the translation products of RNA produced after irradiation. These studies indicate that RNA and protein synthesis in lepidopteran cells are coordinately regulated in response to ionizing radiation and may participate in the pronounced radioresistance of the TN-368 cells.

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