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Clustered DNA damage induced by a single radiation track is a unique feature of ionizing radiation. Using a plasmid-based assay in Escherichia coli, we previously found significantly higher mutation frequencies for bistranded clusters containing 7,8-dihydro-8-oxoguanine (8-oxoG) and 5,6-dihydrothymine (DHT) than for either a single 8-oxoG or a single DHT in wild type and in glycosylase-deficient strains of E. coli. This indicates that the removal of an 8-oxoG from a clustered damage site is most likely retarded compared to the removal of a single 8-oxoG. To gain further insights into the processing of bistranded base lesions, several potential repair intermediates following 8-oxoG removal were assessed. Clusters, such as DHT+apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) and DHT+GAP have relatively low mutation frequencies, whereas clusters, such as AP+AP or GAP+AP, significantly reduce the number of transformed colonies, most probably through formation of a lethal double strand break (DSB). Bistranded AP sites placed 3' to each other with various interlesion distances also blocked replication. These results suggest that bistranded base lesions, i.e., single base lesions on each strand, but not clusters containing only AP sites and strand breaks, are repaired in a coordinated manner so that the formation of DSBs is avoided. We propose that, when either base lesion is initially excised from a bistranded base damage site, the remaining base lesion will only rarely be converted into an AP site or a single strand break in vivo.

Original publication




Journal article


Mutat Res

Publication Date





162 - 168


DNA Damage, DNA Repair, DNA, Bacterial, DNA, Single-Stranded, DNA-Formamidopyrimidine Glycosylase, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli Proteins, Guanine, Mutation, Thymine