Irradiation of dominant marker DNA with UV light (150 to 1,000 J/m2) was found to stimulate the transformation of human cells by this marker from two- to more than fourfold. This phenomenon is also displayed by xeroderma pigmentosum cells (complementation groups A and F), which are deficient in the excision repair of UV-induced pyrimidine dimers in the DNA. Also, exposure to UV of the transfected (xeroderma pigmentosum) cells enhanced the transfection efficiency. Removal of the pyrimidine dimers from the DNA by photoreactivating enzyme before transfection completely abolished the stimulatory effect, indicating that dimer lesions are mainly responsible for the observed enhancement. A similar stimulation of the transformation efficiency is exerted by 2-acetoxy-2-acetylaminofluorene modification of the DNA. No stimulation was found after damaging vector DNA by treatment with DNase or gamma rays. These findings suggest that lesions which are targets for the excision repair pathway induce the increase in transformation frequency. The stimulation was found to be independent of sequence homology between the irradiated DNA and the host chromosomal DNA. Therefore, the increase of the transformation frequency is not caused by a mechanism inducing homologous recombination between these two DNAs. UV treatment of DNA before transfection did not have a significant effect on the amount of DNA integrated into the xeroderma pigmentosum genome.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Duin, M., Westerveld, A., & Hoeijmakers, J. (1985). UV-stimulation of DNA-mediated transformation of human cells. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 5, 734–741. Retrieved from