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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Effects of DNA-targeted ionizing radiation produced by 5-[125I]iodo-2'-deoxyuridine on global gene expression in primary human cells

Mykyta V Sokolov, Ronald D Neumann and Igor G Panyutin*

Author Affiliations

Nuclear Medicine Department, Clinical Center, National Institutes of Health, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, 20892, Maryland, USA

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BMC Genomics 2007, 8:192  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-8-192

Published: 26 June 2007



This study assesses the whole-genome gene expression changes in a panel of primary human cell lines in response to DNA damage mediated by decay of DNA-incorporated radioiodinated thymidine analog 5-[125I]iodo-2'-deoxyuridine (125I-IUdR). Three normal human cell lines of different origin, namely, gingival fibroblasts AG09319, fetal skin fibroblasts GM05388 and neonatal foreskin epidermal keratinocytes (NHFK) were used in this study. DNA molecules were radiolabeled by incubation of cells in culture in a medium supplemented with either 3.7 kBq/ml or 18.5 kBq/ml of 125I-IUdR for 24 h followed by incubation in IUdR-free medium for additional 24 hours. Each experiment was carried out in quadruplicate. 125I-IUdR uptake was monitored by measuring DNA-associated radioactivity. The whole-genome gene expression changes were evaluated using Agilent Human Whole Genome oligo microarrays containing 44,290 elements representing all known and predicted human genes. DNA microarray dataset was independently partially validated with quantitative real-time PCR (RT-PCR).


AG09319 gingival cells in culture responded to 125I-IUdR treatment by changing the expression level of 335 genes in total, whereas under the same conditions GM05388 and NHFK cells differentially expressed 49 genes and 27 genes, respectively. However, for GM05388 cells the number of differentially expressed genes increases with the rise of 125I-IUdR concentrations in cell culture media. The key up-regulated biological processes in a chosen panel of cell lines concern the regulation of protein kinase activities and/or cell death. Genes repressed in response to 125I-IUdR treatment are involved in cytokinesis, M phase of the cell cycle, chromosome architecture and organization, DNA metabolism, DNA packaging, DNA repair and response to DNA damage. Despite the disparate nature of the gene patterns elicited by 125I-induced DNA damage among the different cell lines, the differentially expressed transcripts reveal strikingly non-random chromosomal distribution in all the cell lines we used.


Our data suggest that DNA-targeted ionizing radiation produced by 125I-IUdR results in changes in expression of only a limited subset of genes in primary human cells. The responsive genes are distributed non-randomly among the chromosomes; and a significant fraction of them is p53-dependent in the transcriptional regulation.