eIF3a Regulation of NHEJ Repair Protein Synthesis and Cellular Response to Ionizing Radiation

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 Aug 19;8:753. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2020.00753. eCollection 2020.


Translation initiation in protein synthesis regulated by eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) is a crucial step in controlling gene expression. eIF3a has been shown to regulate protein synthesis and cellular response to treatments by anticancer agents including cisplatin by regulating nucleotide excision repair. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that eIF3a regulates the synthesis of proteins important for the repair of double-strand DNA breaks induced by ionizing radiation (IR). We found that eIF3a upregulation sensitized cellular response to IR while its downregulation caused resistance to IR. eIF3a increases IR-induced DNA damages and decreases non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) activity by suppressing the synthesis of NHEJ repair proteins. Furthermore, analysis of existing patient database shows that eIF3a expression associates with better overall survival of breast, gastric, lung, and ovarian cancer patients. These findings together suggest that eIF3a plays an important role in cellular response to DNA-damaging treatments by regulating the synthesis of DNA repair proteins and, thus, eIIF3a likely contributes to the outcome of cancer patients treated with DNA-damaging strategies including IR.

Keywords: DNA repair; eukaryotic initiation factor 3a (eIF3a); gamma-H2A histone family member X (γ-H2AX); mRNA translation; protein synthesis; radiation; resistance.