Cellular responses to ionizing radiation damage

L. Li, M. Story, R. J. Legerski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this report is to provide current perspectives on studies of DNA damage and cell cycle response after ionizing radiation, and their applications in radiation oncology. Methods and Materials: Presentations at the Seventh Annual Radiation Oncology Workshop, held at the International Festival Institute at Round Top, TX, were summarized. Results: Eighteen speakers presented their current work covering a wide range of studies on cellular responses to ionizing radiation. These presentations and discussions form the framework of our report. Conclusion: In response to ionizing radiation, cells immediately activate a series of biochemical pathways that promote cell survival while maintaining genetic integrity. The main cellular defense system against ionizing radiation exposure is composed of two distinct types of biochemical pathways, that is, the DNA damage cell cycle checkpoint pathways and the DNA repair pathways. The DNA damage checkpoint pathways are activated directly by DNA damage, while the repair pathways are constitutively active and are likely modulated by checkpoint signals. Discussions here emphasize that the ATM protein is a central component of the ionizing radiation-responsive pyramid and is essential for activating divergent molecular responses that involve transcriptional regulation, cell cycle arrest, and modulation of DNA repair. The relationship between homologous recombinational repair and nonhomologous end joining of double-strand breaks is also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1162
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001


  • Cell cycle checkpoints
  • DNA repair
  • Ionizing radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cancer Research


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