Little, J. B., Nagasawa, H., Li, G. C. and Chen, D. J. Involvement of the Nonhomologous End Joining DNA Repair Pathway in the Bystander Effect for Chromosomal Aberrations. Radiat. Res. 159, 262–267 (2003).

Cells of mouse knockout cell lines for Ku80 (now known as Xrcc5), Ku70 (now known as G22p1), DNA-PKcs (now known as Prkdc) and PARP (now known as Adprt) were synchronized in G1 phase and exposed to very low fluences of α particles. The frequency of gross chromosomal aberrations was scored at the first postirradiation metaphase. At the two lowest doses examined, aberrations were induced in 4–9% of wild-type cells and 36–55% of Xrcc5−/− cells, whereas only 2–3% of the nuclei were traversed by an α particle and thus received any radiation exposure. G22p1−/− cells responded similarly to Xrcc5−/− cells, whereas Prkdc−/− and Adprt−/− cells showed an intermediate effect. The frequency of aberrations per nuclear traversal increased approximately 30-fold for Xrcc5−/− and G22p1−/− cells at the lowest mean dose examined (0.17 cGy), compared with 10-fold in Prkdc−/− cells and 3-fold in wild-type cells. Based on these and other findings, we hypothesize that the marked sensitization of repair-deficient bystander cells to the induction of chromosomal aberrations is a consequence of unrejoined DNA double-strand breaks occurring as a result of clustered damage arising from opposed oxidative lesions and single-strand breaks.

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