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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effect of nucleotide excision repair in human cells on intrachromosomal homologous recombination induced by UV and 1-nitrosopyrene.

To study the role of nucleotide excision repair in the induction of intrachromosomal homologous recombination in mammalian cells, we introduced a plasmid containing a substrate for recombination into three human cell lines that differ in their repair capacity and compared the frequency of recombination induced by UV radiation and by 1-nitrosopyrene. One strain had a normal capacity for nucleotide excision repair, the second exhibited an intermediate rate of repair, and the third, derived from a patient with xeroderma pigmentosum, had no ability to repair UV- or 1-nitrosopyrene-induced DNA damage. The endogenous thymidine kinase genes in these cell strains had been inactivated, and the cells contained an integrated copy of a plasmid carrying duplicated copies of the herpes simplex virus type 1 thymidine kinase (Htk) gene, each inactivated by an 8-base-pair XhoI site inserted at a unique site. A functional tk gene can only be generated by a productive recombination event between the two Htk genes. In all three stains, UV and 1-nitrosopyrene induced dose-dependent increases in the frequency of recombinants. However, the doses required to cause a specific increase in recombination in the repair-deficient strains were 10 to 30 times lower than the dose required for the cell strain with a normal capacity for repair. These results strongly suggest that unexcised DNA lesions, rather than excision repair per se, stimulate intrachromosomal homologous recombination. Southern blot analysis of DNA from representative recombinants indicated that in all cases one of the two Htk genes had become wild type (XhoI resistant). The majority (90%) retained the Htk duplication, consistent with nonreciprocal transfer of genetic information (gene conversion).[1]


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