The tumor suppressor gene Trp53 (also known as p53) is the most frequently mutated gene in human cancers. p53 is induced in response to DNA damage and effects a G1 cell cycle arrest. It is believed that p53 plays a key role in maintaining genomic integrity following exposure to DNA-damaging agents. We determined the frequency of spontaneous and DNA damage-induced homologous intrachromosomal recombination in p53-deficient mouse embryos. Homologous intrachromosomal recombination events resulting in deletions at the pink eyed unstable (p(un)) locus result in reversion to the p gene. Reversions occurring in embryonic premelanocytes give rise to black spots on the gray fur of the offspring. Pregnant C57BL/6J p(un)/p(un) p53(+/-) mice were exposed to X-rays (1 Gy) or administered benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P; 30 or 150 mg/kg i.p.) 10 days after conception. Frequencies of spontaneous p(un) reversions in p53(-/-) and p53(+/-) animals were not significantly different compared with their wild-type littermates. X-ray treatment increased the recombination frequency in wild-type and p53(+/-), but surprisingly not in p53(-/-) offspring. In contrast, B[a]P treatment caused a dose-dependent increase in p(un) reversion frequencies in all three genotypes. Western blot analysis of embryos indicated that p53 protein levels increased ~ 3-fold following X-ray treatment, while B[a]P had no effect on p53 expression. These results are in agreement with the proposal that p53 is involved in the DNA damage response following X-ray exposure and suggest that X-ray-induced double-strand breaks are processed differently in p53(-/-) animals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research