Human prostate epithelium lacks Wee1A-media ted DNA damage-induced checkpoint enforcement

Taija M. Kiviharju-af Hällström, Sari Jäämaa, Mia Mönkkönen, Karita Peltonen, Leif C. Andersson, René H. Medema, Donna M. Peehl, Marikki Laiho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Cellular DNA damage triggers the DNA damage response pathway and leads to enforcement of cell cycle checkpoints, which are essential for the maintenance of genomic integrity and are activated in early stages of tumorigenesis. A special feature of prostate cancer is its high incidence and multifocality. To address the functionality of DNA damage checkpoints in the prostate, we analyzed the responses of human primary prostate epithelial cells (HPECs) and freshly isolated human prostate tissues to γ-irradiation. We find that γ-irradiation activates the ataxia telangiectasia mutated-associated DNA damage response pathway in the HPECs but that the clearance of phosphorylated histone H2AX (γH2AX) foci is delayed. Surprisingly, γ-irradiated HPECs were unable to enforce cell cycle checkpoint arrest and had sustained cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2)-associated kinase activity because of a lack of inhibitory Cdk phosphorylation by Wee1A tyrosine kinase. We further show that HPECs express low levels of Wee1A and that ectopic Wee1A efficiently rescues the checkpoints. We recapitulate the absence of checkpoint responses in epithelium of ex vivo irradiated human prostate tissue despite robust induction of γH2AX. The findings show that prostate epithelium has a surprising inability to control checkpoint arrest, the lack of which may predispose to accrual of DNA lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7211-7216
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 24 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cyclin-dependent kinase
  • Irradiation
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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