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Eur J Immunol. 2005 Apr;35(4):1250-6.

Damaging-agent sensitivity of Artemis-deficient cell lines.

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Istituto di Tecnologie Biomediche, CNR, Segrate, Italy.


Defects in repairing double-strand breaks can lead to genome instability and tumorigenesis. In humans, most T(-)B(-) severe combined immunodeficiencies (SCID) have a defect in either the RAG1 or RAG2 gene, are not radiosensitive and do not show genome instability. On the contrary, a minority of T(-)B(-) SCID patients have abnormalities in the Artemis gene and are moderately radiosensitive. Artemis-deficient cells are unable to process hairpin ends after RAG cleavage, but hairpin opening activity alone does not explain the moderate X-ray sensitivity of Artemis-deficient cells. We report here that, at variance with what has been described in mice, cell lines from Artemis(-/-) patients are moderately sensitive to mitomycin C and show only a low to moderate increase in genomic instability, both spontaneously and after exposure to ionizing radiations. There is some heterogeneity in the levels of DNA damage sensitivity and genome instability, which could in part be due to different effects of the specific mutation involved or to genetic background, which may not always represent null alleles. This data supports the hypothesis that, in addition to playing a role in hairpin opening during the V(D)J recombination process, Artemis is involved in the repair of a subset of DNA damage whose exact nature is still undefined.

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