High-linear-energy-transfer (LET) radiation is more lethal than similar doses of low-LET radiation types, probably a result of the condensed energy deposition pattern of high-LET radiation. Here, we compare high-LET α-particle to low-LET X-ray irradiation and monitor double-strand break (DSB) processing. Live-cell microscopy was used to monitor DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), marked by p53-binding protein 1 (53BP1). In addition, the accumulation of the endogenous 53BP1 and replication protein A (RPA) DSB processing proteins was analyzed by immunofluorescence. In contrast to α-particle-induced 53BP1 foci, X-ray-induced foci were resolved quickly and more dynamically as they showed an increase in 53BP1 protein accumulation and size. In addition, the number of individual 53BP1 and RPA foci was higher after X-ray irradiation, while focus intensity was higher after α-particle irradiation. Interestingly, 53BP1 foci induced by α-particles contained multiple RPA foci, suggesting multiple individual resection events, which was not observed after X-ray irradiation. We conclude that high-LET α-particles cause closely interspaced DSBs leading to high local concentrations of repair proteins. Our results point toward a change in DNA damage processing toward DNA end-resection and homologous recombination, possibly due to the depletion of soluble protein in the nucleoplasm. The combination of closely interspaced DSBs and perturbed DNA damage processing could be an explanation for the increased relative biological effectiveness (RBE) of high-LET α-particles compared to X-ray irradiation.

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doi.org/10.3390/ijms21186602, hdl.handle.net/1765/130368
International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam