The hyperthermic inhibition of cellular DNA synthesis, i.e., reduction in replicon initiation and delay in DNA chain elongation, was previously postulated to be involved in the induction of chromosomal aberrations believed to be largely responsible for killing S-phase cells. Utilizing asynchronous Chinese hamster ovary cells heated for 15 min at 45.5°C, an increase in single-stranded regions in replicating DNA (as measured by BND-cellulose chromatography) persisted in heated cells for as long as replicon initiation was affected. Alkaline sucrose gradient analyses of cells pulse-labeled immediately after heating with [3 H]thymidine and subsequently chased at 37°C revealed that these S-phase cells can eventually complete elongation of the replicons in operation at the time of heating, but required about six times as long relative to control cells which completed replicon elongation within 4 h. DNA chain elongation into multicluster-sized molecules was prevented for up to 18 h in these heated cells, resulting in a buildup of cluster-sized molecules (∼120-160 S) mainly because of the long-term heat damage to the replicon initiation process. Utilizing bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-propidium iodide bivariate analysis on a flow cytometer to measure cell progression, control cells pulsed with BrdU and chased in unlabeled medium progressed through S and G2M with cell division starting after 2 h of chase time. In contrast, the majority of the heated S-phase cells progressed slowly and remained blocked in S phase for about 18 h before cell division was observed after 24 h postheat. Our findings suggest that possible sites for where the chromosomal aberrations may be occurring in heated S-phase cells are either (1) at the persistent single-stranded DNA regions or (2) at the regions between clusters of replicons, because this long-term heat damage to the DNA replication process might lead to many opportunities for abnormal DNA and/or protein exchanges to occur at these two sites.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.