The effect of hyperthermia on induction and repair of UV-radiation-induced cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers was investigated in the genome overall and in transcriptionally active and inactive genes in confluent human fibroblasts. Hyperthermia treatment (30 min, 45°C) of human fibroblasts resulted in an increase in the protein content of isolated nuclei (protein aggregation) similar to that observed for HeLa S3 cells. The faster rate of disaggregation of nuclear proteins and the higher survival rate of heated fibroblasts in comparison with those for HeLa cells provide further evidence for a possible role of protein aggregation in heat-induced cell killing. Determination of the frequencies of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in the genome overall and in restriction fragments of the active adenosine deaminase (ADA) gene and inactive 754 locus revealed that hyperthermia selectively inhibits the induction of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in transcriptionally active DNA. Removal of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers from the ADA gene was strongly delayed during the first 8 h in 10 J/ m2 UV-irradiated fibroblasts. Such inhibition of repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers was not observed for the 754 gene, indicating that inhibition of repair by hyperthermia is generally not mediated by inactivation of repair enzymes. It is proposed that the inhibition of induction and repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers in active genes by hyperthermia is related to the heat-induced aggregation of proteins with the nuclear matrix, proximal to which active genes are located. Our results are consistent with a functional compartmentalization of DNA repair at the nuclear matrix.

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