Delayed apoptotic responses associated with radiation-induced neoplastic transformation of human hybrid cells

Marc S. Mendonca, Kelly L. Howard, Daphne L. Farrington, Lael A. Desmond, Toni M. Temples, Brendan M. Mayhugh, John J. Pink, David A. Boothman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


HeLa X human skin fibroblast hybrid cells have been developed into a model for radiation-induced neoplastic transformation of human cells. Previous studies indicate that the appearance of neoplastically transformed loci in this system is delayed for several population doublings after irradiation and appears to involve the loss of putative tumor suppressor loci on fibroblast chromosomes 11 and 14. We now show that after treatment with 7 Gy of X-rays, transformed loci initiation correlates with delayed apoptosis initiated in the progeny of the irradiated cells after 10-12 cell divisions and with reduced plating efficiency (delayed death). The cells develop classic apoptotic morphology, positive terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase- mediated nick end labeling and phosphatidylserine (annexin V) staining, and cleavage of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. In addition, a delayed induction of the p53 protein and the proapoptotic Bax protein is evident over a week after radiation exposure. We propose that a delayed build-up of mitosis-dependent genomic DNA damage or a loss of genetic material over time (10-12 cell divisions postirradiation) has two relevant outcomes: (a) cell death due to the delayed induction of a p53-dependent apoptosis; and (b) neoplastic transformation of a minor subset of survivors that has lost fibroblast chromosomes 11 and 14 (tumor suppressor loci for this system) and has either evaded apoptosis or not acquired enough genetic damage to induce apoptosis. It is postulated that both phenomena result from X-ray-induced, translesion- mediated genomic instability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3972-3979
Number of pages8
JournalCancer research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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