We have previously published the techniques and preliminary results of an SV40 viral probe assay for γ-radiation-induced single- and double-strand DNA breaks and their intracellular repair in higher cells (Radiat. Res. 101, 356-372, 1985). Those experiments with SV40 infected CV-1 monkey kidney cells suggested that this assay technique demonstrates slow but extensive intracellular repair of single-strand breaks (SSB), and possible early repair of double-strand breaks (DSB), followed by later induction of DSB. Following up on these early observations, many additional infection-incubation experiments have now been performed with both human and simian cells. Analysis of data from these experiments involving up to 6 h of postinfection intranuclear incubation shows the same distribution of strand break damage in incubated and unincubated samples. This implies that under these experimental conditions there is neither intracellular repair nor further production of SSB or DSB in intranuclear viral DNA. We have evidence which suggests that this lack of repair or degradation occurs because the bulk of intranuclear SV40 DNA is relatively inaccessible to host cell enzymes.

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