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Study of genetic and epigenetic consequences consecutive to the persistent signaling of radiation-induced DNA damage

​Aurélie Vaurijoux has defended her thesis on 12th December 2016 at IRSN, Fontenay-aux-Roses.

Document type > *Mémoire/HDR/Thesis

Keywords >


Authors > VAURIJOUX Aurélie

Publication Date > 12/12/2016


The DNA double-stranded breaks (DSB) are key events in the cell response to ionizing radiation that may affect, with the individual genetic and epigenetic profile, the fate of healthy tissues of people exposed. Following initial breaks and chromatin destabilization, a set of posttranslational modifications of histones occurs, including the phosphorylation of serine 139 of histone H2AX (γH2A.X), which leads to the formation of ionizing radiation-induced foci (IRIF). DSB repair results in the disappearance of most IRIF within hours after exposure. However, a proportion of IRIF remains 24 hours upon irradiation. The nature and role of these persistent IRIF are still unclear. The goal of this work is to explore the characteristics of these persistent IRIF and their consequences on the cell behavior. To investigate the dynamic of IRIF in our model, we evaluated the frequency and kinetics of persistent IRIF and analyzed their temporal association with 53BP1 protein and Promyelocytic leukemia nuclear bodies (PML NBs) and their impact on cell proliferation. The analysis of a large number of cells and foci allowed us to screen subpopulations of cells or foci through different characteristics, such as size, shape or cell cycle phase among others, and to weight their representativeness in the whole population of exposed cells. We identified that more than 70% of cells exposed to 5 Gy had at least one persistent IRIF 24 hours after exposure and we observed these persistent IRIF up to 7 days post irradiation. A significant spatial association between PML NBs and IRIF was observed from 10 minutes after exposure; at 24h post irradiation, around 90% of persistent IRIF were associated with PML NBs. Moreover we demonstrated that persistent IRIF did not block cell proliferation definitively. The frequency of IRIF was lower in daughter cells, probably due to a certain amount of asymmetric distribution of IRIF between them. We report a positive association between the presence of an IRIF and the likelihood of DNA missegregation by observation of mitotic catastrophes. Hence, the structure formed after the passage of a persistent IRIF across the S and G2 phases may impede the correct segregation of sister chromatids of the chromosome affected. Consequently, the nature of IRIF in the nucleus of daughter cells might differ before and after the first cell division due to an abnormal resolution of anaphase. The resulting atypical chromosomal assembly may be lethal or result in a gene dosage imbalance and possible enhanced genomic instability, and could lead to a patchwork of cell phenotypes.

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