We have extended our permeable cell system for measuring DNA excision repair [Roberts, J. D., & Lieberman, M. W. (1979) Biochemistry 13, 4499-4505] so that steps of the repair process, beginning with incision and extending at least through the "rearrangement" of repaired nucleosomes which follows repair synthesis, all take place in permeable cells. In the revised protocol, human fibroblasts are made permeable, damaged with UV or chemicals in suspension, and incubated with a reaction mix containing ATP and the four deoxyribonucleoside triphosphates, one of which is labeled with 32P. By reducing the exogenous dNTP concentration to 3 μM and including 15 mM KCl in the reaction mixture, we have greatly reduced background incorporation in undamaged cells without significantly reducing repair synthesis. This permits us to measure repair synthesis without separating it from replicative synthesis by isopycnic centrifugation. Repair synthesis in this system is very similar to that occurring in intact cells: in response to DNA damage, nucleotides are incorporated into DNA of parental density (when analyzed by the BrdUrd density shift technique), incorporation increases with increasing DNA damage, synthesis is dependent on the presence of all four dNTPs, and the system accurately reflects the genetic UV repair deficiency of xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) cells. Furthermore, as has been observed in intact cells, repair-incorporated nucleotides in these permeable cells are initially overrepresented in staphylococcal nuclease sensitive regions of chromatin and are subsequently redistributed to give a nearly uniform distribution between nuclease-sensitive and -resistant regions. The UV dose curve of permeable cells differs somewhat from that of intact cells; however, the dose curve for permeable cells treated with N-methyl-N-nitrosourea is very similar to that of intact cells. Repair synthesis in UV-damaged, permeable normal and XP cells is stimulated by addition of Micrococcus luteus UV endonuclease, indicating that the damaged DNA is accessible to exogenous repair enzymes and suggesting that incision, or an obligatory preincision step, is rate limiting for excision repair in these permeable cells. Repair synthesis in this system is inhibited by aphidicolin, but not by high levels of dideoxy-TTP, suggesting involvement of DNA polymerase α in excision repair. Novobiocin is also inhibitory at concentrations known to inhibit both DNA polymerase α and the HeLa cell type II DNA topoisomerase.
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