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25 January 2018 Linear Energy Transfer Modulates Radiation-Induced NF-kappa B Activation and Expression of its Downstream Target Genes
Arif Ali Chishti, Christa Baumstark-Khan, Kristina Koch, Waldemar Kolanus, Sebastian Feles, Bikash Konda, Abid Azhar, Luis F. Spitta, Bernd Henschenmacher, Sebastian Diegeler, Claudia Schmitz, Christine E. Hellweg
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Abstract

Nuclear factor kappaB (NF-κB) is a central transcription factor in the immune system and modulates cell survival in response to radiotherapy. Activation of NF-κB was shown to be an early step in the cellular response to ultraviolet A (UVA) and ionizing radiation exposure in human cells. NF-κB activation by the genotoxic stress-dependent sub-pathway after exposure to different radiation qualities had been evaluated to a very limited extent. In addition, the resulting gene expression profile, which shapes the cellular and tissue response, is unknown. Therefore, in this study the activation of NF-κB after exposure to low- and high-linear energy transfer (LET) radiation and the expression of its target genes were analyzed in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. The activation of NF-κB via canonical and genotoxic stress-induced pathways was visualized by the cell line HEK-pNF-κB-d2EGFP/Neo L2 carrying the destabilized enhanced green fluorescent protein (d2EGFP) as reporter. The NF-κB-dependent d2EGFP expression after irradiation with X rays and heavy ions was evaluated by flow cytometry. Because of differences in the extent of NF-κB activation after irradiation with X rays (significant NF-κB activation for doses >4 Gy) and heavy ions (significant NF-κB activation at doses as low as 1 Gy), it was expected that radiation quality (LET) played an important role in the cellular radiation response. In addition, the relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of NF-κB activation and reduction of cellular survival were compared for heavy ions having a broad LET range (∼0.3–9,674 keV/μm). Furthermore, the effect of LET on NF-κB target gene expression was analyzed by real-time reverse transcriptase quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). The maximal RBE for NF-κB activation and cell killing occurred at an LET value of 80 and 175 keV/μm, respectively. There was a dose-dependent increase in expression of NF-κB target genes NF-κB1A and CXCL8. A qPCR array of 84 NF-κB target genes revealed that TNF and a set of CXCL genes (CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL8, CXCL10), CCL2, VCAM1, CD83, NF-κB1, NF-κB2 and NF-κBIA were strongly upregulated after exposure to X rays and neon ions (LET 92 keV/μm). After heavy-ion irradiations, it was noted that the expression of NF-κB target genes such as chemokines and CD83 was highest at an LET value that coincided with the LET resulting in maximal NF-κB activation, whereas expression of the NF-κB inhibitory gene NFKBIA was induced transiently by all radiation qualities investigated. Taken together, these findings clearly demonstrate that NF-κB activation and NF-κB-dependent gene expression by heavy ions are highest in the LET range of ∼50–200 keV/μm. The upregulated chemokines and cytokines (CXCL1, CXCL2, CXCL10, CXCL8/IL-8 and TNF) could be important for cell–cell communication among hit as well as nonhit cells (bystander effect).

©2018 by Radiation Research Society.
Arif Ali Chishti, Christa Baumstark-Khan, Kristina Koch, Waldemar Kolanus, Sebastian Feles, Bikash Konda, Abid Azhar, Luis F. Spitta, Bernd Henschenmacher, Sebastian Diegeler, Claudia Schmitz, and Christine E. Hellweg "Linear Energy Transfer Modulates Radiation-Induced NF-kappa B Activation and Expression of its Downstream Target Genes," Radiation Research 189(4), 354-370, (25 January 2018). https://doi.org/10.1667/RR14905.1
Received: 4 August 2017; Accepted: 1 December 2017; Published: 25 January 2018
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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