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DNA Repair (Amst). 2008 May 3;7(5):694-703. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Mar 20.

Tissue-specific differences in the accumulation of sequence rearrangements with age.

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  • 1Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, United States.


Mitotic homologous recombination (HR) is a critical pathway for the accurate repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and broken replication forks. While generally error-free, HR can occur between misaligned sequences, resulting in deleterious sequence rearrangements that can contribute to cancer and aging. To learn more about the extent to which HR occurs in different tissues during the aging process, we used Fluorescent Yellow Direct Repeat (FYDR) mice in which an HR event in a transgene yields a fluorescent phenotype. Here, we show tissue-specific differences in the accumulation of recombinant cells with age. Unlike pancreas, which shows a dramatic 23-fold increase in recombinant cell frequency with age, skin shows no increase in vivo. In vitro studies indicate that juvenile and aged primary fibroblasts are similarly able to undergo HR in response to endogenous and exogenous DNA damage. Therefore, the lack of recombinant cell accumulation in the skin is most likely not due to an inability to undergo de novo HR events. We propose that tissue-specific differences in the accumulation of recombinant cells with age result from differences in the ability of recombinant cells to persist and clonally expand within tissues.

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