Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.412, No.1, 39-43, 2011
Accumulation of p21 proteins at DNA damage sites independent of p53 and core NHEJ factors following irradiation
The cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor p21 plays key roles in p53-dependent DNA-damage responses, i.e., cell cycle checkpoints, senescence, or apoptosis. p21 might also play a role in DNA repair. p21 foci arise at heavy-ion-irradiated DNA-double-strand break (DSB) sites, which are mainly repaired by nonhomologous DNA-end-joining (NHEJ). However, no mechanisms of p21 accumulation at double-strand break (DSB) sites have been clarified in detail. Recent works indicate that Ku70 and Ku80 are essential for the accumulation of other NHEJ core factors, e.g., DNA-PKcs, XRCC4 and XLF, and other DNA damage response factors, e.g., BRCA1. Here, we show that p21 foci arise at laser-irradiated sites in cells from various tissues from various species. The accumulation of EGFP-p21 was detected in not only normal cells, but also transformed or cancer cells. Our results also showed that EGFP-p21 accumulated rapidly at irradiated sites, and colocalized with the DSB marker gamma-H2AX and with the DSB sensor protein Ku80. On the other hand, the accumulation occurred in Ku70-, Ku80-, or DNA-PKcs-deficient cell lines and in human papillomavirus 18-positive cells, whereas the p21 mutant without the PCNA-binding region (EGFP-p21(1-146)) failed to accumulate at the irradiated sites. These findings suggest that the accumulation of p21, but not functional p53 and the NHEJ core factors, is dependent on PCNA. These findings also suggest that the accumulation activity of p21 at DNA damaged sites is conserved among human and animal cells, and p21 is a useful tool as a detection marker of DNA damaged sites. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.