The genus Xiphophorus is an important model for investigating the etiology and genetics of sunlight-induced melanoma as well as other cancers. We used immunological techniques to determine the induction, distribution and repair of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and pyrimidine(6-4)pyrimidone dimers ([6-4]PD) in different tissues of Xiphophorus signum exposed to ultraviolet-B light. We found that the (6-4)PD was induced at 5 to 10-fold lower frequency than the CPD and that scalation provided considerable photoprotection against both photoproducts. Photoenzymatic repair (PER) was very efficient in X. signum with most of the lesions removed within 20 min; PER of CPD occurred at about twice the rate of (6-4)PD. Nucleotide excision repair (NER) was much less efficient than PER and the rates of CPD and (6-4)PD removal were comparable. PER was more efficient in the caudal fin compared to the lateral epidermis; the opposite was true for NER. Although the initial rate of CPD excision was five-fold faster in the lateral epidermis compared to the caudal fin a considerable amount of residual damage remained in both tissues. The diverse photochemical and photobiological responses observed in X. signum suggest that heritable traits governing deoxyribonucleic acid damage induction and repair may be involved in the susceptibility of other Xiphophorus species to melanomagenesis.
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Vol. 72 • No. 2