Many studies have demonstrated the effect of oncogene transfection on the radiation sensitivity of primary rat embryo fibroblasts. Our results indicate that transformation by H-ras plus v-myc oncogenes confers radiation resistance to a much greater extent than transformation by either gene alone. We have further shown that the radioresistant phenotype is accompanied by a prolonged G2-phase delay. This is consistent with the hypothesis that the extent of this delay is an important determinant of radiation sensitivity. The study of cyclin expression during the progression of cells through G2 and M phase after irradiation has also revealed several possible mechanisms for induction of G2-phase arrest. Control of cyclin B levels was seen both at the mRNA level as evidenced by decreased cyclin B mRNA expression after irradiation in the S phase, and at the protein level as demonstrated after irradiation in G2 phase. It remains to be determined how these mechanisms might be differentially regulated in radioresistant and sensitive cells.

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