Mechanism of damage sensing and cell killing following the inhibition of nucleotide excision repair by fludarabine in quiescent cells

Vedurmudi Ashutosh Rao, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Inhibition of DNA repair by the nucleoside of fludarabine (F-ara-A) induces toxicity in quiescent human cells. The sensing and signaling mechanisms following DNA repair inhibition by F-ara-A are unknown. The central hypothesis of this project was that the mechanistic interaction of a DNA repair initiating agent and a nucleoside analog initiates an apoptotic signal in quiescent cells. The purpose of this research was to identify the sensing and signaling mechanism(s) that respond to DNA repair inhibition by F-ara-A. Lymphocytes were treated with F-ara-A, to accumulate the active triphosphate metabolite and subsequently DNA repair was activated by UV irradiation. Pre-incubation of lymphocytes with 3 μM F-ara-A inhibited DNA repair initiated by 2 J/m2 UV and induced greater than additive apoptosis after 24 h. Blocking the incorporation of F-ara-A nucleotide into repairing DNA using 30 μM aphidicolin considerably lowered the apoptotic response. Wild-type quiescent cells showed a significant loss in viability than did cells lacking functional sensor kinase DNA-PKcs or p53 as measured by colony formation assays. The functional status of ATM did not appear to affect the apoptotic outcome. Immunoprecipitation studies showed an interaction between the catalytic sub-unit of DNA-PK and p53 following DNA repair inhibition. Confocal fluorescence microscopy studies have indicated the localization pattern of p53, DNA-PK and γ-H2AX in the nucleus following DNA damage. Foci formation by γ-H2AX was seen as an early event that is followed by interaction with DNA-PKcs. p53 serine-15 phosphorylation and accumulation were detected 2 h after treatment. Fas/Fas ligand expression increased significantly after repair inhibition and was dependent on the functional status of p53. Blocking the interaction between Fas and Fas ligand by neutralizing antibodies significantly rescued the apoptotic fraction of cells. Collectively, these results suggest that incorporation of the nucleoside analog into repair patches is critical for cytotoxicity and that the DNA damage, while being sensed by DNA-PK, may induce apoptosis by a p53-mediated signaling mechanism. Based on the results, a model is proposed for the sensing of F-ara-A-induced DNA damage that includes γ-H2AX, DNA-PKcs, and p53. Targeting the cellular DNA repair mechanism can be a potential means of producing cytotoxicity in a quiescent population of neoplastic cells. These results also provide mechanistic support for the success of nucleoside analogs with cyclophosphamide or other agents that initiate excision repair processes, in the clinic.

Subject Area

Pharmacology|Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Rao, Vedurmudi Ashutosh, "Mechanism of damage sensing and cell killing following the inhibition of nucleotide excision repair by fludarabine in quiescent cells" (2003). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3081468.