Transcriptional modulation induced by ionizing radiation: P53 remains a central player

Sharon Rashi-Elkeles, Ran Elkon, Seagull Shavit, Yaniv Lerenthal, Chaim Linhart, Ana Kupershtein, Ninette Amariglio, Gideon Rechavi, Ron Shamir, Yosef Shiloh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The cellular response to DNA damage is vital for maintaining genomic stability and preventing undue cell death or cancer formation. The DNA damage response (DDR), most robustly mobilized by double-strand breaks (DSBs), rapidly activates an extensive signaling network that affects numerous cellular systems, leading to cell survival or programmed cell death. A major component of the DDR is the widespread modulation of gene expression. We analyzed together six datasets that probed transcriptional responses to ionizing radiation (IR) - our novel experimental data and 5 published datasets - to elucidate the scope of this response and identify its gene targets. According to the mRNA expression profiles we recorded from 5 cancerous and non-cancerous human cell lines after exposure to 5 Gy of IR, most of the responses were cell line-specific. Computational analysis identified significant enrichment for p53 target genes and cell cycle-related pathways among groups of up-regulated and down-regulated genes, respectively. Computational promoter analysis of the six datasets disclosed that a statistically significant number of the induced genes contained p53 binding site signatures. p53-mediated regulation had previously been documented for subsets of these gene groups, making our lists a source of novel potential p53 targets. Real-time qPCR and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays validated the IR-induced p53-dependent induction and p53 binding to the respective promoters of 11 selected genes. Our results demonstrate the power of a combined computational and experimental approach to identify new transcriptional targets in the DNA damage response network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-348
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Oncology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • DNA damage response
  • Gene expression
  • Ionizing radiation
  • Meta-analysis
  • P53
  • Transcriptional regulation


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