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DNA-PK is responsible for enhanced phosphorylation of histone H2AX under hypertonic conditions.

Reitsema T., Klokov D., Banath J.P., Olive P.L.

Exposure of cells to hypertonic medium after X-irradiation results in a 3-4-fold increase in the phosphorylation of histone H2AX (gammaH2AX) at sites of radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks. This increase was previously associated with salt-induced radiosensitization and inhibition of repair of DNA double-strand breaks. To examine possible mechanisms for the increase in foci size, chemical inhibitors of kinase and phosphatase activity and cell lines deficient in ATM and DNA-PK, two kinases known to phosphorylate H2AX, were examined. H2AX kinase and phosphatase activity were maintained in the presence of high salt. ATM mutant HT144 melanoma cells showed the expected 3-4-fold increase in H2AX phosphorylation in the presence of 0.5M Na(+). However, DNA-PKcs deficient M059J cells failed to respond to hypertonic treatment and M059J Fus1 cells corrected for this deficiency showed the expected increase in foci size. Although the active phosphoform of ATM, phosphoserine-1981, increased after irradiation, the level was unaffected by the addition of 0.5M Na(+). Instead, 0.5M Na(+) caused a partial redistribution of serine-1981-ATM to perinuclear regions. Hypertonic medium added after irradiation was effective in inhibiting rejoining of the radiation-induced double-strand breaks even in DNA-PK deficient M059J cells. We suggest that hypertonic treatment following irradiation inhibits double-strand break rejoining that in turn maintains DNA-PK activity at the site of the break, enhancing the size of the gammaH2AX foci.

DNA Repair 4:1172-1181(2005) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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