We have investigated molecular changes in cultured differentiating human lens epithelial cells exposed to high-energy accelerated iron-ion beams as well as to protons and X rays. In this paper, we present results on the effects of radiation on gene families that include or are related to DNA damage, cell cycle regulators, cell adhesion molecules, and cell cytoskeletal function. A limited microarray survey with a panel of cell cycle-regulated genes illustrates that irradiation with protons altered the gene expression pattern of human lens epithelial cells. A focus of our work is CDKN1A (p21CIP1/WAF1), a protein that we demonstrate here has a role in several pathways functionally related to LET-responsive radiation damage. We quantitatively assessed RNA and protein expression in a time course before and after single 4-Gy radiation doses and demonstrated that transcription and translation of CDKN1A are both temporally regulated after exposure. Furthermore, we show qualitative differences in the distribution of CDKN1A immunofluorescence signals after exposure to X rays, protons or iron ions, suggesting that LET effects likely play a role in the misregulation of gene function in these cells. A model of molecular and cellular events is proposed to account for precataractous changes in the human lens after exposure to low- or high-LET radiations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging