The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of DNA and chromosome repair in determining the difference in radiosensitivity between a radiosensitive murine leukemic lymphoblastoid cell line, L5178Y-S, and its radioresistant counterpart, L5178Y-R. Populations of cells in the G1 or G2 phase of the cell cycle were obtained by centrifugal elutriation and irradiated with X-ray doses up to 10 Gy and allowed to repair at 37°C for various periods. The kinetics of DNA double-strand break repair was estimated using the DNA neutral filter elution method, and the kinetics of chromosome repair was measured by premature chromosome condensation. L5178Y-S cells exhibited decreased repair rates and limited repair capacity at both the DNA and chromosome level in both G1 and G2 phases when compared to L5178Y-R cells. For the repair-competent L5178Y-R cells, the rate of DNA repair was similar in G1 and G2 cells and exhibited both fast and slow components. While the kinetics of chromosome break repair in G1 cells was similar to that of DNA repair, chromosome repair in G2 cells had a diminished fast component and lagged behind DNA repair in terms of fraction of damage repaired. Interestingly, concomitant with a diminished repair capacity in L5178Y-S cells, the number of chromatid exchanges in G2 cells increased with time, whereas it remained constant with repair time in L5178Y-R cells. These results suggest that the basis for the exceptional radiosensitivity of L5178Y-S cells is a defect in the repair of both DNA double-strand breaks and chromosome damage.

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