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J Bacteriol. 2011 Jun;193(11):2875-9. doi: 10.1128/JB.00134-11. Epub 2011 Mar 25.

Role of the Nfo and ExoA apurinic/apyrimidinic endonucleases in radiation resistance and radiation-induced mutagenesis of Bacillus subtilis spores.

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  • 1German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Radiation Biology Department, Research Group Astrobiology, Linder Hoehe, D-51147 Cologne, Germany.


The roles of DNA repair by apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) endonucleases alone, and together with DNA protection by α/β-type small acid-soluble spore proteins (SASP), in Bacillus subtilis spore resistance to different types of radiation have been studied. Spores lacking both AP endonucleases (Nfo and ExoA) and major SASP were significantly more sensitive to 254-nm UV-C, environmental UV (>280 nm), X-ray exposure, and high-energy charged (HZE)-particle bombardment and had elevated mutation frequencies compared to those of wild-type spores and spores lacking only one or both AP endonucleases or major SASP. These findings further implicate AP endonucleases and α/β-type SASP in repair and protection, respectively, of spore DNA against effects of UV and ionizing radiation.

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