Thermal radiosensitization is believed to be mediated by an inhibition of double-strand break (DSB) repair, but the exact mechanism of radiosensitization remains to be elucidated. Previously, we demonstrated that proteins of the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 complex (MRN) translocate from the nucleus to the cytoplasm in cells have that been heated or heated and then irradiated; this finding led us to propose that heat radiosensitization was due at least in part to translocation of MRN. In the current study, we used leptomycin B to inhibit MRN translocation in heated, irradiated cells, but we found that heat radiosensitization was not altered. Thus enhanced radiosensitivity was not attributed to translocation of MRN proteins. To determine which of the MRN subunits contributed to heat radiosensitization, we compared the extent of heat radiosensitization in wild-type cells with that of cells hypomorphic for Mre11 or Nbs1 or cells in which the level of Rad50 was suppressed. We found that neither Nbs1 nor Rad50 is involved in heat radiosensitization, because a similar amount of heat radiosensitization was observed in cells deficient in those proteins compared to cells expressing normal levels. However, heat radiosensitization was not observed in A-TLD1 cells deficient in Mre11. Measurement of exonuclease activity of purified Mre11 heated at 42.5°C or 45.5°C indicated that the protein is very heat-labile. Immunoprecipitation of Mre11 from heated HeLa cells also revealed that hsp70 associates with Mre11 and that this association is maintained long after heating. Taken together, these findings implicate Mre11 as a target for heat radiosensitization and suggest that heat radiosensitization and inhibition of DSB repair may be mediated by heat-induced conformational changes in Mre11.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging