The effects of selected DNA repair inhibitors on the frequency of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV)-induced chromosome aberrations were evaluated in human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs). Treatment of HCMV-infected PBLs with camptothecin (0.05 to 0.3 μg/ml), an inhibitor of topoisomerase I, for 30 hr resulted in a significant (P < 0.01) synergistic enhancement of the frequency of HCMV-induced chromosome damage. On the other hand, a significant increase in the frequency of chromosome damage was not noted for infected PBLs treated with either 3-aminobenzamide (3-AB; 3 to 30 μg/ml), an inhibitor of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, or novobiocin (3 to 30 μg/ml), an inhibitor of topoisomerase II or excision repair processes, for 30 hr. Chromatid-type breaks and exchanges were the predominant type of chromosome aberrations observed in the HCMV-infected cells treated with camptothecin, suggesting that HCMV infection is associated with the induction of single-strand DNA breaks. Furthermore, these findings suggest that HCMV infection does not inflict direct DNA damage which is repaired through 3-AB- or novobiocin-sensitive pathways.
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