The DNA damage response (DDR) has two main goals, to repair the damaged DNA and to communicate the presence of damaged DNA. This communication allows the adaptation of cellular behavior to minimize the risk associated with DNA damage. In particular, cell cycle progression must be adapted after a DNA-damaging insult, and cells either pause or terminally exit the cell cycle during a DDR. As cells can accumulate mutations after a DDR due to error-prone DNA repair, terminal cell cycle exit may prevent malignant transformation. The tumor suppressor p53 plays a key role in promoting terminal cell cycle exit. Interestingly, p53 has been implicated in communication of a stress response to surrounding cells, known as the bystander response. Recently, surrounding cells have also been shown to affect the damaged cell, suggesting the presence of intercellular feedback loops. How such feedback may affect terminal cell cycle exit remains unclear, but its presence calls for caution in evaluating cellular outcome without controlling the cellular surrounding. In addition, such feedback may contribute to how the cellular environment affects malignant transformation after DNA damage.
Keywords: DNA damage; G2; bystander effect; cell cycle; cell cycle exit; p53; senescence.