The evaluation of radiation-induced (RI) risks is of medical, scientific, and societal interest. However, despite considerable efforts, there is neither consensual mechanistic models nor predictive assays for describing the three major RI effects, namely radiosensitivity, radiosusceptibility, and radiodegeneration. Interestingly, the ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) protein is a major stress response factor involved in the DNA repair and signaling that appears upstream most of pathways involved in the three precited RI effects. The rate of the RI ATM nucleoshuttling (RIANS) was shown to be a good predictor of radiosensitivity. In the frame of the RIANS model, irradiation triggers the monomerization of cytoplasmic ATM dimers, which allows ATM monomers to diffuse in nucleus. The nuclear ATM monomers phosphorylate the H2AX histones, which triggers the recognition of DNA double-strand breaks and their repair. The RIANS model has made it possible to define three subgroups of radiosensitivity and provided a relevant explanation for the radiosensitivity observed in syndromes caused by mutated cytoplasmic proteins. Interestingly, hyper-radiosensitivity to a low dose and adaptive response phenomena may be also explained by the RIANS model. In this review, the relevance of the RIANS model to describe several features of the individual response to radiation was discussed.
Keywords: ATM; DSB repair; radiosensitivity.