Changes in phosphorylation of histone H2A.X and p53 in response of peripheral blood lymphocytes to gamma irradiation
The main aim of this study was to compare the reaction of quiescent and proliferating, i.e. phytohemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated, human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) to gamma-radiation, and analyse changes of proteins related to repair of DNA damage and apoptosis, such as gamma H2A.X, p53, p53 phosphorylation at serines-15 and -392, and p21 and their dose dependence. Freshly isolated PBMCs in peripheral blood are predominantly quiescent, in G(0) phase, and with very low amounts of proteins p53 and p21. Using confocal microscopy we detected dose dependent (0.5-5 Gy) induction of foci containing gamma H2A.X (1 h after gamma-ray exposure), which are formed around radiation-induced double strand breaks of DNA. Apoptosis was detected from 24 h after irradiation by the dose of 4 Gy onwards by Annexin V binding and lamin B cleavage. Seventy two hours after irradiation 70% of CD3(+) lymphocytes were A(+). Neither increase in p53 nor its phosphorylation on serine-392 after irradiation was detected in these cells. However, massive increase in p21 (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1A) was detected after irradiation, which can be responsible for late occurrence of apoptosis in these quiescent cells. PHA-stimulation itself (72 h) caused an increase in early apoptosis (A(+)PI(-)) in comparison to non-stimulated PBMCs (38% A(+) resp. 13.4%). After PHA-stimulation also the amount of gamma H2A.X, p53, and p21 increased, but no phosphorylation of p53 on serine-392 or -15 was detected. Reaction to gamma-radiation was different in PHA-stimulated lymphocytes: the p53 pathway was activated and p53 was phosphorylated on serines-15 and -392 4 h after irradiation by the dose of 4 Gy. Phosphorylation of p53 at serine-15 increased in a dose-dependent manner in the studied dose range 0.2-7.5 Gy. Also the amount of p21 increased after irradiation. Seventy two hours after irradiation of PHA-stimulated CD3(+) T lymphocytes by the dose of 4 Gy 65% of cells were A(+).