In the event of a mass casualty radiation scenario, biodosimetry has the potential to quantify individual exposures for triaging and providing dose-appropriate medical intervention. Structural maintenance of chromosomes 1 (SMC1) is phosphorylated in response to ionizing radiation. The goal of this study was to develop a new biodosimetry method using SMC1 phosphorylation as a measure of exposure to radiation. In the initial experiments, two normal human cell lines (WI-38VA-13 and HaCaT) and four lymphoblastoid cell lines were irradiated, and the levels of SMC1 phosphorylation at Ser-360 and Ser-957 were assessed using Western blotting. Subsequently, similar experiments were performed using peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from 20 healthy adults. Phosphorylation of SMC1 at Ser-957 and Ser-360 was increased by exposure in a dose-dependent manner, peaked at 1–3 h postirradiation and then decreased gradually. Ser-360 was identified as a new phosphorylation site and was more sensitive to radiation than Ser-957, especially at doses below 1 Gy. Our results demonstrate a robust ex vivo response of phospho-SMC1-(Ser-360) to ionizing radiation in human PBMCs. Detection of phosphorylation at Ser-360 in SMC1 could be used as a marker of radiation exposure. Our findings suggest that it is feasible to measure blood cell-based changes in the phosphorylation level of a protein as an ex vivo radiation exposure detection method, even after low-dose exposure.
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Vol. 191 • No. 3