DNA Lesions That Signal the Induction of Radioresistance and DNA Repair in Yeast
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DNA recombinational repair, and an increase in its capacity induced by DNA damage, is believed to be the major mechanism that confers resistance to killing by ionizing radiation in yeast. We have examined the nature of the DNA lesions generated by ionizing radiation that induce this mechanism, using two different end points: resistance to cell killing and ability of the error-free recombinational repair system to compete for other DNA lesions and thereby suppress chemical mutation. Under the various conditions examined in this study, the "maximum" inducible radiation resistance was increased approximately 1.5- to 3-fold and suppression of mutation about 10-fold. DNA lesions produced by low-LET gamma rays at doses greater than about 20 Gy given in oxygen were shown to be more efficient, per unit dose, at inducing radioresistance to killing than were lesions produced by neutrons (high-LET radiation). This suggests that DNA single-strand breaks are more important lesions in the induction of radioresistance than DNA double-strand breaks. Oxygen-modified lesions produced by gamma rays (low-LET radiation) were particularly efficient as induction signals. DNA damage due to hydroxyl radicals (OH.) derived from the radiolytic decomposition of H2O produced lesions that strongly induced this DNA repair mechanism. Similarly, OH. derived from aqueous electrons (e-aq) in the presence of N2O also efficiently induced the response. Cells induced to radioresistance to killing with high-LET radiation did not suppress N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine (MNNG)-generated mutations as well as cells induced with low-LET radiation, supporting the conclusion that the type of DNA damage produced by low-LET radiation is a better inducer of recombinational repair. Surprisingly, however, cells induced with gamma radiation in the presence of N2O that became radioresistant to killing were unable to suppress MNNG mutations. This result indicates that OH. generated via e-aq (in N2O) may produce unusual DNA lesions which retard normal repair and render the system unavailable to compete for MNNG-generated lesions. We suggest that the repairability of these unique lesions is restricted by either their chemical nature or topological accessibility. Attempted repair of these lesions has lethal consequences and accounts for N2O radiosensitization of repair-competent but not incompetent cells. We conclude that induction of radioresistance in yeast by ionizing radiation responds variably to different DNA lesions, and these affect the availability of the induced recombinational repair system to deal with subsequent damage.
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