Journal Article

Susceptibility of proliferating cells to benzo[<i>a</i>]pyrene-induced homologous recombination in mice

A.J.R. Bishop, B. Kosaras, N. Carls, R.L. Sidman and R.H. Schiestl

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 22, issue 4, pages 641-649
Published in print April 2001 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online April 2001 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Susceptibility of proliferating cells to benzo[a]pyrene-induced homologous recombination in mice

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  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


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The pink-eyed unstable mutation, pun, is the result of a 70 kb tandem duplication within the murine pink-eyed, p, gene. Deletion of one copy of the duplicated region by homologous deletion/recombination occurs spontaneously in embryos and results in pigmented spots in the fur and eye. Such deletion events are inducible by a variety of DNA damaging agents, as we have observed previously with both fur- and eye-spot assays. Here we describe a study of the effect of exposure to benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) at different times of development on reversion induction in the eye. Previously we, among others, have reported that the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) displays a position effect variegation phenotype in the pattern of pink-eyed unstable reversions. Following an acute exposure to B[a]P or X-rays on the tenth day of gestation an increased frequency of reversion events was detected in a distinct region of the adult RPE. Examining exposure at different times of eye development reveals that both B[a]P and X-rays result in an increased frequency of reversion events, though the increase was only significant following B[a]P exposure, similar to our previous report limited to exposure on the tenth day of gestation. Examination of B[a]P-exposed RPE in the present study revealed distinct regions where the induced events lie and that the positions of these regions are found at increasing distances from the optic nerve the later the time of exposure. This position effect directly reflects the previously observed developmental pattern of the RPE, namely that cells in the regions most distal from the optic nerve are proliferating most vigorously. The numbers and positions of RPE cells displaying the transformed (pigmented) phenotype strongly advocate the proposal that dividing cells are at highest risk to deletions induced by carcinogens.

Keywords: B[a]P, benzo[a]pyrene; dpc, days post-coitum; dpp, days post-partum; RPE, retinal pigment epithelium.

Journal Article.  6220 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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