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1 February 2012 Modeling the Influence of Histone Proteins on the Sensitivity of DNA to Ionizing Radiation
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The DNA-binding proteins that are present in chromatin significantly affect the sensitivity of cells to ionizing radiation and to the radiation chemistry of DNA damage. The interaction between protein and DNA modifies the radiation chemistry of the latter. To model these processes, we have examined the effects of ionizing radiation on the minichromosome form of SV40 (which contains histone proteins arranged in nucleosomes) and also on plasmid DNA in the presence of lysozyme. Although high concentrations of lysozyme can bring about an extensive radioprotection by condensation of the plasmid, at lower levels it still produces significant radioprotective effects under conditions where this associative phase separation does not take place. The presence of histones or of lysozyme decreases the yield of modified guanines produced by ionizing radiation. Comparison with previous observations made with oligopeptides suggests that the mechanism responsible is electron donation to guanyl radicals in the DNA by tryptophan and tyrosine residues in the proteins. However, there was no evidence for DNA-protein crosslink formation.

Melissa Lee, Sarah M Urata, Joe A Aguilera, Christopher C Perry, and Jamie R Milligan "Modeling the Influence of Histone Proteins on the Sensitivity of DNA to Ionizing Radiation," Radiation Research 177(2), 152-163, (1 February 2012).
Received: 27 September 2011; Accepted: 1 October 2011; Published: 1 February 2012

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