Chu, K., Teele, N., Dewey, M. W., Albright, N. and Dewey, W. C. Computerized Video Time Lapse Study of Cell Cycle Delay and Arrest, Mitotic Catastrophe, Apoptosis and Clonogenic Survival in Irradiated 14-3-3σ and CDKN1A (p21) Knockout Cell Lines. Radiat. Res. 162, 270–286 (2004).

Computerized video time lapse (CVTL) microscopy was used to observe cellular events induced by ionizing radiation (10–12 Gy) in nonclonogenic cells of the wild-type HCT116 colorectal carcinoma cell line and its three isogenic derivative lines in which p21 (CDKN1A), 14-3-3σ or both checkpoint genes (double-knockout) had been knocked out. Cells that fused after mitosis or failed to complete mitosis were classified together as cells that underwent mitotic catastrophe. Seventeen percent of the wild-type cells and 34–47% of the knockout cells underwent mitotic catastrophe to enter generation 1 with a 4N content of DNA, i.e., the same DNA content as irradiated cells arrested in G2 at the end of generation 0. Radiation caused a transient division delay in generation 0 before the cells divided or underwent mitotic catastrophe. Compared with the division delay for wild-type cells that express CDKN1A and 14-3-3σ, knocking out CDKN1A reduced the delay the most for cells irradiated in G1 (from ∼15 h to ∼3– 5 h), while knocking out 14-3-3σ reduced the delay the most for cells irradiated in late S and G2 (from ∼18 h to ∼3–4 h). However, 27% of wild-type cells and 17% of 14-3-3σ−/− cells were arrested at 96 h in generation 0 compared with less than 1% for CDKN1A−/− and double-knockout cells. Thus expression of CDKN1A is necessary for the prolonged delay or arrest in generation 0. Furthermore, CDKN1A plays a crucial role in generation 1, greatly inhibiting progression into subsequent generations of both diploid cells and polyploid cells produced by mitotic catastrophe. Thus, in CDKN1A-deficient cell lines, a series of mitotic catastrophe events occurred to produce highly polyploid progeny during generations 3 and 4. Most importantly, the polyploid progeny produced by mitotic catastrophe events did not die sooner than the progeny of dividing cells. Death was identified as loss of cell movement, i.e. metabolic activity. Thus mitotic catastrophe itself is not a direct mode of death. Instead, apoptosis during interphase of both uninucleated and polyploid cells was the primary mode of death observed in the four cell types. Knocking out either CDKN1A or 14-3-3σ increased the amount of cell death at 96 h, from 52% to ∼70%, with an even greater increase to 90% when both genes were knocked out. Thus, in addition to effects of CDKN1A and 14-3-3σ expression on transient cell cycle delay, CDKN1A has both an anti-proliferative and anti-apoptosis function, while 14-3-3σ has only an anti-apoptosis function. Finally, the large alterations in the amounts of cell death did not correlate overall with the small alterations in clonogenic survival (dose-modifying ratios of 1.05–1.13); however, knocking out CDKN1A resulted in a decrease in arrested cells and an increase in survival, while knocking out 14-3-3σ resulted in an increase in apoptosis and a decrease in survival.

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