Miura, M., Watanabe, H., Okochi, K., Sasaki, T. and Shibuya, H. Biological Response to Ionizing Radiation in Mouse Embryo Fibroblasts with a Targeted Disruption of the DNA Polymerase β Gene.
Base excision repair (BER) is carried out by two distinct pathways in mammalian cells, one dependent on DNA polymerase β (Polb) and the other on proliferating cell nuclear antigen (Pcna). We studied whether the Polb-dependent pathway plays an important role in BER in vivo after exposure to ionizing radiation. For this purpose, we used mouse embryo fibroblasts derived from wild-type and Polb gene knockout littermates. Both cell lines had essentially the same clonogenic cell survival and low levels of apoptosis as determined by a colony formation assay and by a change in mitochondrial membrane potential, respectively. No significant cleavage of protein kinase C δ (Pkcd) in vivo, which is a substrate for caspase 3, was detected, and intact Pkcd was retained in both cell lines for at least 72 h after irradiation. Similar significant increases in caspase 3-like activities as measured by Asp-Glu-Val-Asp (DEVD) cleaving activity in vitro were observed in both cell lines after irradiation. Radiation induced cell cycle arrest in the form of a G2-phase block, and G2/M-phase fractions reached a peak approximately 10 h after irradiation and decreased thereafter with a similar time course in both cell lines. Similar levels of chromatin-bound Pcna were observed immediately after irradiation in non-S-phase cells of both cell lines and disappeared by 4 h after irradiation. We conclude that the deficiency in Polb does not have a significant influence on the radiation responses of these cells. Together with evidence accumulated in vitro, these results strongly support the idea that the Pcna-dependent pathway predominantly acts in BER of radiation-induced DNA damage in vivo.