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Mutat Res. 2000 May 30;450(1-2):19-40.

In vivo formation and repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers and 6-4 photoproducts measured at the gene and nucleotide level in Escherichia coli.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, National Institute of Environmental and Health Sciences, National Institute of Health, 111 Alexander Drive, Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


In vivo formation and repair of the major UV-induced DNA photoproducts, cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and 6-4 pyrimidine-pyrimidone photoproducts (6-4 PPs), have been examined at the gene and nucleotide level in Escherichia coli. Each type of DNA photoproduct has individually been studied using photoreactivation and two newly developed assays; the multiplex QPCR assay for damage detection at the gene level and the reiterative primer extension (PE) assay for damage detection at the nucleotide level. In the E. coli lacI and lacZ genes, CPDs and 6-4 PPs form in a 2:1 ratio, respectively, during UV irradiation. Repair of 6-4 PPs is more efficient than repair of CPDs since, on the average, 42% of 6-4 PPs are repaired in both genes in the first 40 min following 200 J/m(2) UV irradiation, while 1% of CPDs are repaired. The location, relative frequency of formation, and efficiency of repair of each type of photoproduct was examined in the first 52 codons of the E. coli lacI gene at the nucleotide level. Hotspots of formation were found for each type of lesion. Most photoproducts are at sites where both CPDs and 6-4 PPs are formed. Allowing 40 min of recovery following 200 J/m(2) shows that in vivo repair of 6-4 PPs is about fourfold more efficient than the repair of CPDs. Comparison of the lesion-specific photoproduct distribution of the lacI gene with a UV-induced mutation spectrum from wild-type cells shows that most mutational hotspots are correlated with sites of a majority of CPD formation. However, 6-4 PPs are also formed at some of these sites with relatively high frequency. This information, taken together with the observation that 6-4 PPs are repaired faster than CPDs, suggest that the cause of mutagenic hotspots in wild-type E. coli is inefficient repair of CPDs.

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