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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2010 Jun 1;99(3):111-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2010.03.004. Epub 2010 Mar 18.

The genotoxic effects of DNA lesions induced by artificial UV-radiation and sunlight.

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Department of Microbiology, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, University of São Paulo, São Paulo, SP, Brazil.


Solar radiation sustains and affects all life forms on Earth. The increase in solar UV-radiation at environmental levels, due to depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, highlights serious issues of social concern. This becomes still more dramatic in tropical and subtropical regions where radiation-intensity is still higher. Thus, there is the need to evaluate the harmful effects of solar UV-radiation on the DNA molecule as a basis for assessing the risks involved for human health, biological productivity and ecosystems. In order to evaluate the profile of DNA damage induced by this form of radiation and its genotoxic effects, plasmid DNA samples were exposed to artificial-UV lamps and directly to sunlight. The induction of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimer photoproducts (CPDs) and oxidative DNA damage in these molecules were evaluated by means of specific DNA repair enzymes. On the other hand, the biological effects of such lesions were determined through the analysis of the DNA inactivation rate and mutation frequency, after replication of the damaged pCMUT vector in an Escherichia coliMBL50 strain. The results indicated the induction of a significant number of CPDs after exposure to increasing doses of UVC, UVB, UVA radiation and sunlight. Interestingly, these photoproducts are those lesions that better correlate with plasmid inactivation as well as mutagenesis, and the oxidative DNA damages induced present very low correlation with these effects. The results indicated that DNA photoproducts play the main role in the induction of genotoxic effects by artificial UV-radiation sources and sunlight.

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