Bone marrow injury is a major adverse side effect of radiation and chemotherapy. Attempts to limit such damage are warranted, but their success requires a better understanding of how radiation and anticancer drugs harm the bone marrow. Here, we report one pivotal role of the BH3-only protein Puma in the radiosensitivity of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Puma deficiency in mice confers resistance to high-dose radiation in a hematopoietic cell-autonomous manner. Unexpectedly, loss of one Puma allele is sufficient to confer mice radioresistance. Interestingly, null mutation in Puma protects both primitive and differentiated hematopoietic cells from damage caused by low-dose radiation but selectively protects HSCs and HPCs against high-dose radiation, thereby accelerating hematopoietic regeneration. Consistent with these findings, Puma is required for radiation-induced apoptosis in HSCs and HPCs, and Puma is selectively induced by irradiation in primitive hematopoietic cells, and this induction is impaired in Puma-heterozygous cells. Together, our data indicate that selective targeting of p53 downstream apoptotic targets may represent a novel strategy to protecting HSCs and HPCs in patients undergoing intensive cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology