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DNA repair of clustered lesions in mammalian cells: involvement of non-homologous end-joining

By Svitlana Malyarchuk, Reneau Castore and Lynn Harrison


Clustered lesions are defined as ≥two lesions within 20 bps and are generated in DNA by ionizing radiation. In vitro studies and work in bacteria have shown that attempted repair of two closely opposed lesions can result in the formation of double strand breaks (DSBs). Since mammalian cells can repair DSBs by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), we hypothesized that NHEJ would repair DSBs formed during the removal of clustered tetrahydrofurans (furans). However, two opposing furans situated 2, 5 or 12 bps apart in a firefly luciferase reporter plasmid caused a decrease in luciferase activity in wild-type, Ku80 or DNA-PKcs-deficient cells, indicating the generation of DSBs. Loss of luciferase activity was maximal at 5 bps apart and studies using siRNA implicate the major AP endonuclease in the initial cleavage. Since NHEJ-deficient cells had equivalent luciferase activity to their isogenic wild-type cells, NHEJ was not involved in accurate repair of clustered lesions. However, quantitation and examination of re-isolated DNA showed that damage-containing plasmids were inaccurately repaired by Ku80-dependent, as well as Ku80-independent mechanisms. This work indicates that not even NHEJ can completely prevent the conversion of clustered lesions to potentially lethal DSBs, so demonstrating the biological relevance of ionizing radiation-induced clustered damage

Topics: Molecular Biology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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