In this study, we investigated the potential influence of p53 on ultraviolet (UV) signal generation and response of bystander cells to the UV signals generated by beta-irradiated cells. Five cell lines of various p53 status (HaCaT, mutated; SW48, wild-type; HT29, mutated; HCT116 / , wild-type; HCT116–/–, null) were irradiated with beta particles from tritium. Signal generation (photon emission at 340 ± 5 nm) was quantified from irradiated cells using a photomultiplier tube. Bystander response (clonogenic survival) was assessed by placing reporter cell flasks directly superior to irradiated signal-emitting cells. All cell lines emitted significant quantities of UV after tritium exposure. The magnitudes of HaCaT and HT29 photon emission at 340 nm were similar to each other while they were significantly different from the stronger signals emitted from SW48, HCT116 / and HCT116–/– cells. In regard to the bystander responses, HaCaT, HCT116 / and SW48 cells demonstrated significant reductions in survival as a result of exposure to emission signals. HCT116–/– and HT29 cells did not exhibit any changes in survival and thus were considered to be lacking the mechanisms or functions required to elicit a response. The survival response was found not to correlate with the observed signal strength for all experimental permutations; this may be attributed to varying emission spectra from cell line to cell line or differences in response sensitivity. Overall, these results suggest that the UV-mediated bystander response is influenced by the p53 status of the cell line. Wild-type p53 cells (HCT116 / and SW48) demonstrated significant responses to UV signals whereas the p53-null cell line (HCT116–/–) lacked any response. The two mutated p53 cell lines exhibited contrasting responses, which may be explained by unique modulation of functions by different point mutations. The reduced response (cell death) exhibited by p53-mutated cells compared to p53 wild-type cells suggests a possible role of the assessed p53 mutations in radiation-induced cancer susceptibility and reduced efficacy of radiation-directed therapy.
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Vol. 187 • No. 2