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Ringlike Structure of the Deinococcus radiodurans Genome: A Key to Radioresistance?

Science  10 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5604, pp. 254-256
DOI: 10.1126/science.1077865

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Abstract

The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans survives ionizing irradiation and other DNA-damaging assaults at doses that are lethal to all other organisms. How D. radioduransaccurately reconstructs its genome from hundreds of radiation-generated fragments in the absence of an intact template is unknown. Here we show that the D. radiodurans genome assumes an unusual toroidal morphology that may contribute to its radioresistance. We propose that, because of restricted diffusion within the tightly packed and laterally ordered DNA toroids, radiation-generated free DNA ends are held together, which may facilitate template-independent yet error-free joining of DNA breaks.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: avi.minsky{at}weizmann.ac.il

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