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DNA Repair (Amst). 2004 Oct 5;3(10):1323-34.

Attempted base excision repair of ionizing radiation damage in human lymphoblastoid cells produces lethal and mutagenic double strand breaks.

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Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The Markey Center for Molecular Genetics, The University of Vermont, 95 Carrigan Drive, Stafford Hall, Burlington, VT 05405-0068, USA.


A significant proportion of cellular DNA damages induced by ionizing radiation are produced in clusters, also called multiply damaged sites. It has been demonstrated by in vitro studies and in bacteria that clustered damage sites can be converted to lethal double strand breaks by oxidative DNA glycosylases during attempted base excision repair. To determine whether DNA glycosylases could produce double strand breaks at radiation-induced clustered damages in human cells, stably transformed human lymphoblastoid TK6 cells that inducibly overexpress the oxidative DNA glycosylases/AP lyases, hNTH1 and hOGG1, were assessed for their radiation responses, including survival, mutation induction and the enzymatic production of double strand breaks post-irradiation. We found that additional double strand breaks were generated during post-irradiation incubation in uninduced TK6 control cells. Moreover, overproduction of either DNA glycosylase resulted in significantly increased double strand break formation, which correlated with an elevated sensitivity to the cytotoxic and mutagenic effects of ionizing radiation. These data show that attempted repair of radiation damage, presumably at clustered damage sites, by the oxidative DNA glycosylases can lead to the formation of potentially lethal and mutagenic double strand breaks in human cells.

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