The lymphoblastoid cell lines WI-L2-NS and TK6 were derived from a non-clonal pool of cells taken from a human spleen. Despite their common background they exhibit marked differences in radiosensitivities; D0 values of 93 and 67 cGy have been reported for WI-L2-NS and TK6 cells respectively. We show here that this differential radiosensitivity is due to a decreased ability of the WI-L2-NS cell line to undergo radiation-induced apoptosis. Further, the WI-L2-NS cell line overexpresses the p53 gene product as a result of a mutation in codon 237 of the p53 gene. These data indicate that WI-L2-NS cells through disruption of normal p53 function are unable to engage the radiation-induced apoptosis program and so are relatively radioresistant.
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