Differentiation-induced radioresistance in muscle cells

Lucia Latella, Jiri Lukas, Cristiano Simone, Pier Lorenzo Puri, Jiri Bartek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


DNA damage induces cell cycle arrest and DNA repair or apoptosis in proliferating cells. Terminally differentiated cells are permanently withdrawn from the cell cycle and partly resistant to apoptosis. To investigate the effects of genotoxic agents in postmitotic cells, we compared DNA damage-activated responses in mouse and human proliferating myoblasts and their differentiated counterparts, the myotubes. DNA double-strand breaks caused by ionizing radiation (IR) induced rapid activating autophosphorylation of ataxia-teleangiectasia-mutated (ATM), phosphorylation of histone H2AX, recruitment of repair-associated proteins MRE11 and Nbs1, and activation of Chk2 in both myoblasts and myotubes. However, IR-activated, ATM-mediated phosphorylation of p53 at serine 15 (human) or 18 (mouse) [Ser15(h)/18(m)], and apoptosis occurred in myoblasts but was impaired in myotubes. This phosphorylation could be enforced in myotubes by the anthracycline derivative doxorubicin, leading to selective activation of proapoptotic genes. Unexpectedly, the abundance of autophosphorylated ATM was indistinguishable after exposure of myotubes to IR (10 Gy) or doxorubicin (1 μM/24 h) despite efficient phosphorylation of p53 Ser15(h)/18(m), and apoptosis occurred only in response to doxorubicin. These results suggest that radioresistance in myotubes might reflect a differentiation-associated, pathway-selective blockade of DNA damage signaling downstream of ATM. This mechanism appears to preserve IR-induced activation of the ATM-H2AX-MRE11/Rad50/Nbs1 lesion processing and repair pathway yet restrain ATM-p53-mediated apoptosis, thereby contributing to life-long maintenance of differentiated muscle tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6350-6361
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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