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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2007 Oct;1773(10):1534-45. Epub 2007 Jul 18.

Chromatin dynamics during DSB repair.

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Institute of Biophysics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Kralovopolska 135, 612 65 Brno, Czech Republic.


We show that double strand breaks (DSBs) induced in chromatin of low as well as high density by exposure of human cells to gamma-rays are repaired in low-density chromatin. Extensive chromatin decondensation manifested in the vicinity of DSBs by decreased intensity of chromatin labelling, increased H4K5 acetylation, and decreased H3K9 dimethylation was observed already 15 min after irradiation. Only slight movement of sporadic DSB loci for short distances was noticed in living cells associated with chromatin decondensation around DSBs. This frequently resulted in their protrusion into the low-density chromatin domains. In these regions, the clustering (contact or fusion) of DSB foci was seen in vivo, and in situ after cell fixation. The majority of these clustered foci were repaired within 240 min, but some of them persisted in the nucleus for several days after irradiation, indicating damage that is not easily repaired. We propose that the repair of DSB in clustered foci might lead to misjoining of ends and, consequently, to exchange aberrations. On the other hand, the foci that persist for several days without being repaired could lead instead to cell death.

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