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Noncycling and terminally differentiated (TD) cells display differences in radiosensitivity and DNA damage response. Unlike other TD cells, Sertoli cells express a mixture of proliferation inducers and inhibitors in vivo and can reenter the cell cycle. Being in a G1-like cell cycle stage, TD Sertoli cells are expected to repair DSBs by the error-prone nonhomologous end-joining pathway (NHEJ). Recently, we have provided evidence for the involvement of Ku-dependent NHEJ in protecting testis cells from DNA damage as indicated by persistent foci of the DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair proteins phospho-H2AX, 53BP1, and phospho-ATM in TD Sertoli cells of Ku70-deficient mice. Here, we analyzed the kinetics of 53BP1 foci induction and decay up to 12 h after 0.5 Gy gamma irradiation in DNA-PKcs-deficient (Prkdc scid ) and wild-type Sertoli cells. In nonirradiated mice and Prkdc scid Sertoli cells displayed persistent DSBs foci in around 12 % of cells and a fivefold increase in numbers of these DSB DNA damage-related foci relative to the wild type. In irradiated mice, Prkdc scid Sertoli cells showed elevated levels of DSB-indicating foci in 82 % of cells 12 h after ionizing radiation (IR) exposure, relative to 52 % of irradiated wild-type Sertoli cells. These data indicate that Sertoli cells respond to and repair IR-induced DSBs in vivo, with repair kinetics being slow in the wild type and inefficient in Prkdc scid . Applying the same dose of IR to Prdkc -/- and Ku -/- mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) cells revealed a delayed induction of 53BP1 DSB-indicating foci 5 min post-IR in Prdkc -/- cells. Inefficient DSB repair was evident 7 h post-IR in DNA-PKcs-deficient cells, but not in Ku -/- MEFs. Our data show that quiescent Sertoli cells repair genotoxic DSBs by DNA-PKcs-dependent NEHJ in vivo with a slower kinetics relative to somatic DNA-PKcs-deficient cells in vitro, while DNA-PKcs deficiency caused inefficient DSB repair at later time points post-IR in both conditions. These observations suggest that DNA-PKcs contributes to the fast and slow repair of DSBs by NHEJ.


Emad A Ahmed, Eukene Vélaz, Michael Rosemann, Klaus-P Gilbertz, Harry Scherthan. DNA repair kinetics in SCID mice Sertoli cells and DNA-PKcs-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Chromosoma. 2017 Mar;126(2):287-298

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PMID: 27136939

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