Eukaryotic cells are known to have an inducible or adaptive response that enhances radioresistance after a low priming dose of radiation. This radioadaptive response seems to present a novel cellular defense mechanism. However, its molecular processing and signaling mechanisms are largely unknown. Here, we studied the role of protein kinase C (PKC) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in the expression of radioadaptive response in cultured mouse cells. Protein immunoblot analysis using isoform-specific antibodies showed an immediate activation of PKC-alpha upon X-irradiation as indicated by a translocation from cytosol to membrane. A low priming dose caused a prolonged translocation, while a nonadaptive high dose dramatically downregulated the total PKC level. Low-dose X-rays also activated the p38 MAPK. The activation of p38 MAPK and resistance to chromosome aberration formation were blocked by SB203580, an inhibitor of p38 MAPK, and Calphostin C, an inhibitor of PKC. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that p38 MAPK was physically associated with delta1 isoform of phospholipase C (PLC-delta1), which hydrolyzed phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate into diacylglycerol, an activator of PKC, and that SB203580 also blocked the activation of PKC-alpha. These results indicate the presence of a novel mechanism for coordinated regulation of adaptive response to low-dose X-rays by a nexus of PKC-alpha/p38 MAPK/PLC-delta1 circuitry feedback signaling pathway with its breakage operated by downregulation of labile PKC-alpha at high doses or excess stimuli.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.