Fouladi, B., Waldren, C. A., Rydberg, B. and Cooper, P. K. Comparison of Repair of DNA Double-Strand Breaks in Identical Sequences in Primary Human Fibroblast and Immortal Hamster–Human Hybrid Cells Harboring a Single Copy of Human Chromosome 11.

We have optimized a pulsed-field gel electrophoresis assay that measures induction and repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in specific regions of the genome (Löbrich et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 92, 12050–12054, 1995). The increased sensitivity resulting from these improvements makes it possible to analyze the size distribution of broken DNA molecules immediately after the introduction of DSBs and after repair incubation. This analysis shows that the distribution of broken DNA pieces after exposure to sparsely ionizing radiation is consistent with the distribution expected from randomly induced DSBs. It is apparent from the distribution of rejoined DNA pieces after repair incubation that DNA ends continue to rejoin between 3 and 24 h postirradiation and that some of these rejoining events are in fact misrejoining events, since novel restriction fragments both larger and smaller than the original fragment are generated after repair. This improved assay was also used to study the kinetics of DSB rejoining and the extent of misrejoining in identical DNA sequences in human GM38 cells and human–hamster hybrid AL cells containing a single human chromosome 11. Despite the numerous differences between these cells, which include species and tissue of origin, levels of TP53, expression of telomerase, and the presence or absence of a homologous chromosome for the restriction fragments examined, the kinetics of rejoining of radiation-induced DSBs and the extent of misrejoining were similar in the two cell lines when studied in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Furthermore, DSBs were removed from the single-copy human chromosome in the hamster AL cells with similar kinetics and misrejoining frequency as at a locus on this hybrid's CHO chromosomes.

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