Noda, A., Kodama, Y., Cullings, H. M. and Nakamura, N. Radiation-Induced Genomic Instability in Tandem Repeat Sequences is not Predictive of Unique Sequence Instability. Radiat. Res. 167, 526–534 (2007).
Tandem repeat sequences, classified as minisatellite sequences or partially duplicated genes, are inherently unstable. Radiation exposure can increase the instability of such repeat sequences, but the biological consequences of this elevated instability are not well characterized. To learn more about the characteristics of the instability at different sequences in the genome, we created mutant HT1080 cells bearing 8.4 kb of partially duplicated allele at the HPRT locus by gene targeting. The cells were then tested to determine whether repeat-sequence instability (assessed by elevated reversion rate caused by loss of one duplicated segment) accompanied increased forward mutation rates at the restored wild-type HPRT allele. After a 4-Gy X irradiation, 32 clones were selected (out of 500 clones, 6%) that showed elevated reversion rates even after many cell generations. These clones also showed general increases in the forward mutation rate, whereas the paired individual mutation rates did not correlate with each other. Furthermore, levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and nuclear γ-H2AX foci, which are hallmarks for DNA damage responses, were also generally elevated, although the levels did not correlate with the individual reversion rates. It was concluded that repeat sequence instability is not predictive of unique sequence instability, probably because the instability is generated by multiple mechanisms after radiation exposure.