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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2011 Feb;143(2-4):340-3. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncq485. Epub 2010 Dec 12.

Spatiotemporal investigations of DNA damage repair using microbeams.

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  • 1CCRCB, Queen's University Belfast, 97 Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7BL, UK.


Cellular response to radiation damage is made by a complex network of pathways and feedback loops whose spatiotemporal organisation is still unclear despite its decisive role in determining the fate of the damaged cell. Revealing the dynamic sequence of the repair proteins is therefore critical in understanding how the DNA repair mechanisms work. There are also still open questions regarding the possible movement of damaged chromatin domains and its role as trigger for lesion recognition and signalling in the DNA repair context. The single-cell approach and the high spatial resolution offered by microbeams provide the perfect tool to study and quantify the dynamic processes associated with the induction and repair of DNA damage. We have followed the development of radiation-induced foci for three DNA damage markers (i.e. γ-H2AX, 53BP1 and hSSB1) using normal fibroblasts (AG01522), human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF7) and human fibrosarcoma cells (HT1080) stably transfected with yellow fluorescent protein fusion proteins following irradiation with the QUB X-ray microbeam (carbon X-rays <2 µm spot). The size and intensity of the foci has been analysed as a function of dose and time post-irradiation to investigate the dynamics of the above-mentioned DNA repair processes and monitor the remodelling of chromatin structure that the cell undergoes to deal with DNA damage.

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