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Mutat Res. 2010 Aug 14;701(1):86-91. doi: 10.1016/j.mrgentox.2010.03.005. Epub 2010 Mar 16.

Relationship between chromatin structure, DNA damage and repair following X-irradiation of human lymphocytes.

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Dipartimento di Agrobiologia e Agrochimica, Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Via San Camillo de Lellis s.n.c., 01100 Viterbo, Italy.


Earlier studies using the technique of premature chromosome condensation (PCC) have shown that in human lymphocytes, exchange type of aberrations are formed immediately following low doses (<2 Gy) of X-rays, whereas at higher doses these aberrations increase with the duration of recovery. This reflects the relative roles of slow and fast repair in the formation of exchange aberrations. The underlying basis for slow and fast repairing components of the DNA repair may be related to differential localization of the initial damage in the genome, i.e., between relaxed and condensed chromatin. We have tried to gain some insight into this problem by (a) X-irradiating lymphocytes in the presence of dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) a potent scavenger of radiation-induced .OH radicals followed by PCC and (b) probing the damage and repair in two specific chromosomes, 18 and 19, which are relatively poor and rich in transcribing genes by COMET-FISH, a combination of Comet assay and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) techniques. Results obtained show (a) that both fast appearing and slowly formed exchange aberrations seem to take place in relaxed chromatin, since they are affected to a similar extent by DMSO, (b) significant differential DNA breakage of chromosome 18 compared to chromosome 19 in both G0 and G1 phases of the cell cycle as detected by Comet assay, indicating that relaxed chromatin containing high densities of transcriptionally active genes shows less fragmentation due to fast repair (chromosome 19) compared to chromosome 18, and (c) that relaxed chromatin is repaired or mis-repaired faster than more compact chromatin.

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