Degradation of the nuclear matrix is a common element during radiation- induced apoptosis necrosis

Joseph R. Dynlacht, Marvin Earles, Jim Henthorn, Zachary V. Roberts, Eric W. Howard, Joshua D. Seno, David Sparling, Michael D. Story

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Human promyelocytic leukemia (HL60) cells were irradiated with 10 or 50 Gy of X rays and studied for up to 72 h postirradiation to determine the mode of death and assess changes in the nuclear matrix. After 50 Gy irradiation, cells were found to die early, primarily by apoptosis, while cells irradiated with 10 Gy died predominantly by necrosis. Disassembly of the nuclear lamina and degradation of the nuclear matrix protein lamin B occurred in cells undergoing radiation-induced apoptosis or necrosis. However, using Western blotting and a recently developed flow cytometry assay to detect changes in nuclear matrix protein content, we found that the kinetics and mechanisms of disassembly of the nuclear lamina are different for each mode of cell death. During radiation-induced apoptosis, cleavage and degradation of lamin B to a ~28-kDa fragment was detected in most cells within 4-12 h after irradiation. Measurements of dual-labeled apoptotic cells revealed that nonrandom DNA fragmentation was evident prior to or concomitant with breakdown of the nuclear lamina. Disassembly of the nuclear lamina during radiation-induced necrosis occurred much later (between 30-60 h after irradiation), and a different cleavage pattern of lamin B was observed. Degradation of the nuclear lamina was also inhibited in apoptosis-resistant BCL2-overexpressing HL60 cells exposed to 50 Gy until approximately 48 h after irradiation. These data indicate that breakdown of the nuclear matrix may be a common element in radiation-induced apoptosis and necrosis, but that the mechanisms and temporal patterns of breakdown of the nuclear lamina during apoptosis are distinct from those of necrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-603
Number of pages14
JournalRadiation research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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