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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 May 15;88(10):4061-5.

A link between double-strand break-related repair and V(D)J recombination: the scid mutation.

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Division of Tumor Immunology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02115.


We show here that mammalian site-specific recombination and DNA-repair pathways share a common factor. The effects of DNA-damaging agents on cell lines derived from mice homozygous for the scid (severe combined immune deficiency) mutation were studied. Surprisingly, all scid cell lines exhibited a profound hypersensitivity to DNA-damaging agents that caused double-strand breaks (x-irradiation and bleomycin) but not to other chemicals that caused single-strand breaks or cross-links. Neutral filter elution assays demonstrated that the x-irradiation hypersensitivity could be correlated with a deficiency in repairing double-strand breaks. These data suggest that the scid gene product is involved in two pathways: DNA repair of random double-strand breaks and the site-specific and lymphoid-restricted variable-(diversity)-joining [V(D)J] DNA rearrangement process. We propose that the scid gene product performs a similar function in both pathways and may be a ubiquitous protein.

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