The induction of mutants at the heterozygous tk locus by X radiation was found to be dose-rate dependent in L5178Y-R16 (LY-R16) cells, but very little dose-rate dependence was observed in the case of strain L5178Y-S1 (LY-S1), which is deficient in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks. Induction of mutants by X radiation at the hemizygous hprt locus was dose-rate independent for both strains. These results are in agreement with the hypothesis that the majority of${\rm X}\text{-radiation-induced}\ {\rm TK}^{-/-}$ mutants harbor multilocus deletions caused by the interaction of damaged DNA sites. Repair of DNA lesions during low-dose-rate X irradiation would be expected to reduce the probability of lesion interaction. The results suggest that in contrast to the${\rm TK}^{-/-}$ mutants, the majority of mutations at the hprt locus in these strains of L5178Y cells are caused by single lesions subject to dose-rate-independent repair. The vast majority of the${\rm TK}^{-/-}$ mutants of strain LY-R16 showed loss of the entire active tk allele, whether the mutants arose spontaneously or were induced by high-dose-rate or low-dose-rate X irradiation. The proportion of${\rm TK}^{-/-}$ mutants with multilocus deletions (in which the products of both the tk gene and the closely linked gk gene were inactivated) was higher in the repair-deficient strain LY-S1 than in strain LY-R16. However, even though the mutant frequency decreased with dose rate, the proportion of mutants showing inactivation of both the tk and gk genes increased with a decrease in dose rate. The reason for these apparently conflicting results concerning the effect of DNA repair on the induction of extended lesions is under investigation.

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