Contrasting DNA damage checkpoint responses in epithelium of the human seminal vesicle and prostate

Sari Jäämaa, Anna Sankila, Ville Rantanen, Karita Peltonen, Päivi M. Järvinen, Taija M. Af Hällström, Mirja Ruutu, Kimmo Taari, Leif C. Andersson, Marikki Laiho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Prostate and seminal vesicle are two similar hormone responsive human organs that differ dramatically in their cancer incidence. DNA damage response (DDR) is required for maintenance of genomic integrity. METHODS. In this study we investigated the DDR and cell cycle checkpoint activation of these organs using orthotopic cultures of human surgery-derived tissues and primary cultures of isolated prostate and seminal vesicle cells. RESULTS. We find that the activation of ATM signaling pathway by ionizing radiation (IR) was comparable in both tissues. Previously, we have shown that the prostate secretory cells express low levels of histone variant H2AX and phosphorylated H2AX (γH2AX) after IR. Here we demonstrate that H2AX levels are low also in the secretory seminal vesicle cells suggesting that this is a common phenotype of postmitotic cells. We consequently established primary epithelial cell cultures from both organs to compare their DDR. Interestingly, contrary to human prostate epithelial cells (HPEC), primary seminal vesicle epithelial cells (HSVEC) displayed effective cell cycle checkpoints after IR and expressed higher levels of Wee1A checkpoint kinase. Furthermore, HSVEC but not HPEC cells were able to activate p53 and to induce p21 cell cycle inhibitor. DISCUSSION Our results show that during replication, the checkpoint enforcement is more proficient in the seminal vesicle than in the prostate epithelium cells. This indicates a more stringent enforcement of DDR in replicating seminal vesicle epithelial cells, and suggests that epithelial regeneration combined with sub-optimal checkpoint responses may contribute to high frequency of genetic lesions in the prostate epithelium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1070
Number of pages11
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012


  • DNA damage
  • Wee1A
  • checkpoint
  • p53
  • prostate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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