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Bioessays. 1995 May;17(5):457-64.

A model for repair of radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks in the extreme radiophile Deinococcus radiodurans.

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Department of Pathology, F. E. H├ębert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799, USA.


The bacterium Deinococcus (formerly Micrococcus) radiodurans and other members of the eubacterial family Deinococaceae are extremely resistant to ionizing radiation and many other agents that damage DNA. Stationary phase D. radiodurans exposed to 1.0-1.5 Mrad gamma-irradiation sustains > 120 DNA double-strand breaks (dsbs) per chromosome; these dsbs are mended over a period of hours with 100% survival and virtually no mutagenesis. This contrasts with nearly all other organisms in which just a few ionizing radiation induced-dsbs per chromosome are lethal. In this article we present an hypothesis that resistance of D. radiodurans to ionizing radiation and its ability to mend radiation-induced dsbs are due to a special form of redundancy wherein chromosomes exist in pairs, linked to each other by thousands of four-stranded (Holliday) junctions. Thus, a dsb is not a lethal event because the identical undamaged duplex is nearby, providing an accurate repair template. As addressed in this article, much of what is known about D. radiodurans suggests that it is particularly suited for this proposed novel form of DNA repair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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