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J Bacteriol. 2008 Feb;190(3):1134-40. Epub 2007 Nov 30.

Roles of the major, small, acid-soluble spore proteins and spore-specific and universal DNA repair mechanisms in resistance of Bacillus subtilis spores to ionizing radiation from X rays and high-energy charged-particle bombardment.

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  • 1German Aerospace Center, Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Division, Department of Photo- and Exobiology, Cologne, Germany.


The role of DNA repair by nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), homologous recombination, spore photoproduct lyase, and DNA polymerase I and genome protection via alpha/beta-type small, acid-soluble spore proteins (SASP) in Bacillus subtilis spore resistance to accelerated heavy ions (high-energy charged [HZE] particles) and X rays has been studied. Spores deficient in NHEJ and alpha/beta-type SASP were significantly more sensitive to HZE particle bombardment and X-ray irradiation than were the recA, polA, and splB mutant and wild-type spores, indicating that NHEJ provides an efficient DNA double-strand break repair pathway during spore germination and that the loss of the alpha/beta-type SASP leads to a significant radiosensitivity to ionizing radiation, suggesting the essential function of these spore proteins as protectants of spore DNA against ionizing radiation.

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