Recognition of O6MeG lesions by MGMT and mismatch repair proficiency may be a prerequisite for low-dose radiation hypersensitivity

Lynn Martin, Brian Marples, Mary Coffey, Mark Lawler, Donal Hollywood, Laure Marignol, Mark Lawler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Low-dose hyper-radiosensitivity (HRS) is the phenomenon whereby cells exposed to radiation doses of less than approximately 0.5 Gy exhibit increased cell killing relative to that predicted from back-extrapolating high-dose survival data using a linear-quadratic model. While the exact mechanism remains to be elucidated, the involvement of several molecular repair pathways has been documented. These processes in turn are also associated with the response of cells to O6-methylguanine (O6MeG) lesions. We propose a model in which the level of low-dose cell killing is determined by the efficiency of both pre-replicative repair by the DNA repair enzyme O6-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) and post-replicative repair by the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) system. We therefore hypothesized that the response of cells to low doses of radiation is dependent on the expression status of MGMT and MMR proteins. MMR (MSH2, MSH6, MLH1, PMS1, PMS2) and MGMT protein expression signatures were determined in a panel of normal (PWR1E, RWPE1) and malignant (22RV1, DU145, PC3) prostate cell lines and correlated with clonogenic survival and cell cycle analysis. PC3 and RWPE1 cells (HRS positive) were associated with MGMT and MMR proficiency, whereas HRS negative cell lines lacked expression of at least one (MGMT or MMR) protein. MGMT inactivation had no significant effect on cell survival. These results indicate a possible role for MMR-dependent processing of damage produced by low doses of radiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-13
Number of pages9
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2009


  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • DNA Mismatch Repair
  • Dacarbazine
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Enzyme Activation
  • G2 Phase
  • Guanine
  • Humans
  • O(6)-Methylguanine-DNA Methyltransferase
  • Phenotype
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Tolerance


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