The tumour suppressor gene, p53, and genes coding for positive signal transduction factors can influence transit through cell-cycle checkpoints and modulate radiosensitivity. Here we examine the effects of RAF1 protein on the rate of exit from a G2/M block induced by gamma-irradiation in relation to intrinsic cellular radiosensitivity in human cell lines expressing wild-type p53 (wtp53) protein as compared to mutant p53 (mutp53) protein. Cell lines which expressed mutp53 protein were all relatively radioresistant and exhibited no relationship between RAF1 protein and cellular radiosensitivity. Cell lines expressing wtp53 protein, however, showed a strong relationship between RAF1 protein levels and the radiosensitivity parameter SF2. In addition, when post-irradiation perturbation of G2/M transit was compared using the parameter T50 (time after the peak of G2/M delay at which 50% of the cells had exited from a block induced by 2 Gy of irradiation), RAF1 was related to T50 in wtp53, but not mutp53, cell lines. Cell lines which expressed wtp53 protein and high levels of RAF1 had shorter T50s and were also more radiosensitive. These results suggest a cooperative role for wtp53 and RAF1 protein in determining cellular radiosensitivity in human cells, which involves control of the G2/M checkpoint.
Copyright 2000 Cancer Research Campaign.