Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis (EMM) Editor's Choice - June 2012
The Editor's Choice for June is “Direct and Delayed X-Ray-Induced DNA Damage in Male Mouse Germ Cells” by Eugenia Cordelli, Patrizia Eleuteri, Maria Giuseppa Grollino, Barbara Benassi, Giovanni Blandino, Cecilia Bartoleschi, Maria Chiara Pardini, Edoardo Vittorio Di Caprio, Marcello Spanò, Francesca Pacchierotti, and Paola Villani.
Ionizing radiation can cause persistent genomic instability in cells, even those not directly targeted by the radiation. Consequently, understanding the mechanisms of radiation-induced genomic instability in male germ cells is a fascinating question with important human health implications. Cordelli and colleagues investigated the hypothesis that repaired radiation-induced DNA damage in immature male germ cells results in subsequent DNA strand breaks during later stages of spermatogenesis. They tested this hypothesis by measuring DNA strand breaks at various times after X-ray exposure to mouse testes, which allowed them to describe the persistence of the radiation effects and identify the stages of sperm development that were affected. They assessed DNA strand breaks using three different assays (comet assay, sperm chromatin structure assay, and immunodetection of γ-H2AX), and also measured radiation-induced changes in gene expression. This study allowed them to conclude “proliferating spermatogonia retain a memory of the radiation insult that is recognized at a later developmental stage and activates a process leading to DNA fragmentation,” which likely occurs through an apoptotic-like pathway. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 53:429-439 Published 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.