The XR-V9B mutant of Chinese hamster V79 cells which exhibits hypersensitivity to ionizing radiation was isolated by the replica plating technique. The increased sensitivity of XR-V9B cells to X rays (approximately 4-fold, as judged by the <tex-math>$D_{10}$</tex-math>) was accompanied by increased sensitivity to other DNA-damaging agents such as bleomycin (∼17-fold), VP16 (∼6-fold), and adriamycin (∼5-fold). Only a slightly increased sensitivity was observed after exposure to UV radiation, MMS, or mitomycin C (1.4-, 1.7-, and 2-fold, respectively). As measured by neutral elution after exposure to X rays, XR-V9B cells showed a defect in the rejoining of double-strand breaks (DSBs); after 4 h of repair more than 50% of DSBs remained in comparison to 5% in wild-type cells. No difference was observed in the kinetics of single-strand break rejoining between XR-V9B and wild-type cells, as measured by alkaline elution. To determine whether XR-V9B represents a new complementation group among ionizing radiation-sensitive Chinese hamster cell mutants defective in DSB repair, XR-V9B cells were fused with XR-V15B, XR-1, and V-3 cells, which have impaired DSB rejoining and belong to three different complementation groups. In all cases, the derived hybrids regained the sensitivity of wild-type cells when exposed to X rays, indicating that the XR-V9B mutant represents a new fourth complementation group among X-ray-sensitive Chinese hamster cell mutants defective in DSB repair.

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