Zhang, Y., Zhou, J., Held, K. D., Redmond, R. W., Prise, K. M. and Liber, H. L. Deficiencies of Double-Strand Break Repair Factors and Effects on Mutagenesis in Directly γ-Irradiated and Medium-Mediated Bystander Human Lymphoblastoid Cells. Radiat. Res. 169, 197–206 (2008).

Using RNA interference techniques to knock down key proteins in two major double-strand break (DSB) repair pathways (DNA-PKcs for nonhomologous end joining, NHEJ, and Rad54 for homologous recombination, HR), we investigated the influence of DSB repair factors on radiation mutagenesis at the autosomal thymidine kinase (TK) locus both in directly irradiated cells and in unirradiated bystander cells. We also examined the role of p53 (TP53) in these processes by using cells of three human lymphoblastoid cell lines from the same donor but with differing p53 status (TK6 is p53 wild-type, NH32 is p53 null, and WTK1 is p53 mutant). Our results indicated that p53 status did not affect either the production of radiation bystander mutagenic signals or the response to these signals. In directly irradiated cells, knockdown of DNA-PKcs led to an increased mutant fraction in WTK1 cells and decreased mutant fractions in TK6 and NH32 cells. In contrast, knockdown of DNA-PKcs led to increased mutagenesis in bystander cells regardless of p53 status. In directly irradiated cells, knockdown of Rad54 led to increased induced mutant fractions in WTK1 and NH32 cells, but the knockdown did not affect mutagenesis in p53 wild-type TK6 cells. In all cell lines, Rad54 knockdown had no effect on the magnitude of bystander mutagenesis. Studies with extracellular catalase confirmed the involvement of H2O2 in bystander signaling. Our results demonstrate that DSB repair factors have different roles in mediating mutagenesis in irradiated and bystander cells.

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