Induction of p21 mRNA synthesis after short-wavelength UV light visualized in individual cells by RNA FISH

Claudia M. Hattinger, Aart G. Jochemsen, Hans J. Tanke, Roeland W. Dirks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Expression of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor gene p21 is induced after DNA damage and plays a role in cell survival. The exact mechanism of induction is not known, but enhancement of mRNA stability has recently been implicated as an important factor. To obtain further insight into the dynamics of p21 gene expression at the individual cell level, normal fibroblasts, GM1492 fibroblasts from a Bloom's syndrome patient, and U2OS osteosarcoma cells were UVC irradiated, fixed at different time points, and subjected to mRNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunocytochemical staining. In mock-irradiated normal fibroblasts, a subfraction of cells revealed low levels of p21 mRNA synthesis. After UVC treatment, p21 transcripts accumulated over time in nuclear locations other than transcription foci. At 6 hr after irradiation, almost 50% of the cells displayed p21 mRNA in three different distribution patterns within the nuclei. The highest frequency of cells with cytoplasmic accumulation of p21 mRNA was seen at 17 hr after UVC treatment. We conclude that increased p21 gene transcription and possibly stabilization of newly synthesized p21 mRNA contribute to elevated levels of p21 protein after UVC irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Human fibroblasts
  • p21
  • Speckles
  • UVC irradiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Anatomy


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