Purpose: The goal of this study was to determine if reduced availability of the DNA repair protein, MRE11, for the repair of damaged DNA is a basis for thermal radiosensitization induced by moderate hyperthermia. To test this hypothesis, we measured the total amount of MRE11 DNA repair protein and its heat-induced alterations in four human tumor cell lines requiring different heating times at 41°C to induce measurable radiosensitization. Materials and methods: Human colon adenocarcinoma cell lines (NSY42129, HT29 and HCT15) and HeLa cells were used as the test system. Cells were irradiated immediately after completion of hyperthermia. MRE11 levels in whole cell extract, nuclear extract and cytoplasmic extracts were measured by Western blotting. The nuclear and cytoplasmic extracts were separated by TX100 solubility. The subcellular localization of MRE11 was determined by immunofluorescence staining. Results: The results show that for the human tumor cell lines studied, the larger the endogenous amount of MRE11 protein per cell, the longer the heating time at 41°C required for inducing measurable radiosensitization in that cell line. Further, the residual nuclear MRE11 protein level, measured in the nuclear extract and in the cytoplasmic extract as a function of heating time, both correlated with the thermal enhancement ratio (TER). Conclusions: These observations are consistent with the possibility that delocalization of MRE11 from the nucleus is a critical step in the radiosensitization by moderate hyperthermia.
- DNA repair