The effect of wortmannin posttreatment was studied in cells derived from different species (hamster, mouse, chicken, and human) with normal and defective DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) activity, cells with and without the ataxia telangiectasia (ATM) gene, and cells lacking other regulatory proteins involved in the DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair pathways. Clonogenic assays were used to obtain all results. Wortmannin radiosensitization was observed in Chinese hamster cells (V79-B310H , CHO-K1), mouse mammary carcinoma cells (SR-1), transformed human fibroblast (N2KYSV), chicken B lymphocyte wild-type cells (DT40), and chicken Rad54 knockout cells (Rad54-/-). However, mouse mammary carcinoma cells (SX9) with defects in the DNA-PK and chicken DNA-PK catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) knockout cells (DNA-PKcs-/-/-) failed to exhibit wortmannin radiosensitization. On the other hand, SCID mouse cells (SC3VA2) exposed to wortmannin exhibited significant increases in radiosensitivity, possibly because of some residual function of DNA-PKcs. Moreover, the transformed human cells derived from AT patients (AT2KYSV) and chicken ATM knockout cells (ATM-/-) showed pronounced wortmannin radiosensitization. These studies demonstrate confirm that the mechanism underlying wortmannin radiosensitization is the inhibition of DNA-PK, but not of ATM, thereby resulting in the inhibition of DSB repair via nonhomologous endjoining (NHEJ).