Schwartz, J.L., Jordan, R., Sun, J., Ma, H. and Hsie, A.W. Dose-Dependent Changes in the Spectrum of Mutations Induced by Ionizing Radiation.
We examined the influence of dose on the spectrum of mutations induced at the hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (Hprt) locus in Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells. Independent CHO-K1 cell mutants at the Hprt locus were isolated from cells exposed to 0, 0.5, 1.5, 3.0 and 6.0 Gy 137Cs γ rays, and the genetic changes responsible for the mutations were determined by multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based exon deletion analysis. We observed dose-dependent changes in mutation spectra. At low doses, the principal radiation-induced mutations were point mutations. With increasing dose, multibase deletion mutations became the predominant mutation type such that by 6.0 Gy, there were almost three times more deletion mutations than point mutations. The dose response for induction of point mutations was linear while that for multibase deletions fit a linear-quadratic response. There was a biphasic distribution of deletion sizes, and different dose responses for small compared to large deletions. The frequency of large (>36 kb) total gene deletions increased exponentially, implying that they develop from the interaction between two independent events. In contrast, the dose response for deletion mutations of less than 10 kb was nearly linear, suggesting that these types of mutations develop mostly from single events and not the interactions between two independently produced lesions. The observation of dose-dependent changes in radiation-induced mutation spectra suggests that the types of alterations and therefore the risks from low-dose radiation exposure cannot be easily extrapolated from high-dose effects.