Uehara, Y., Ikehata, H., Komura, J-I., Ito, A., Ogata, M., Itoh, T., Hirayama, R., Furusawa, Y., Ando, K., Paunesku, T., Woloschak, G. E., Komatsu, K., Matsuura, S., Ikura, T., Kamiya, K. and Ono, T. Absence of Ku70 Gene Obliterates X-Ray-Induced lacZ Mutagenesis of Small Deletions in Mouse Tissues. Radiat. Res. 170, 216–223 (2008).
With the goal of understanding the role of non-homologous end-joining repair in the maintenance of genetic information at the tissue level, we studied mutations induced by radiation and subsequent repair of DNA double-strand breaks in Ku70 gene-deficient lacZ transgenic mice. The local mutation frequencies and types of mutations were analyzed on a lacZ gene that had been chromosomally integrated, which allowed us to monitor DNA sequence alterations within this 3.1-kbp region. The mutagenic process leading to the development of the most frequently observed small deletions in wild-type mice after exposure to 20 Gy of X rays was suppressed in Ku70−/− mice in the three tissues examined: spleen, liver and brain. Examination of DNA break rejoining and the phosphorylation of histone H2AX in Ku70-deficient and -proficient mice revealed that Ku70 deficiency decreased the frequency of DNA rejoining, suggesting that DNA rejoining is one of the causes of radiation-induced deletion mutations. Limited but statistically significant DNA rejoining was found in the liver and brain of Ku70-deficient mice 3.5 days after irradiation, showing the presence of a DNA double-strand break repair system other than non-homologous end joining. These data indicate a predominant role of non-homologous end joining in the production of radiation-induced mutations in vivo.