The ability of human fibroblasts to repair the specific types of DNA damage caused by bleomycin (BLM) was examined in whole-cell experiments. The method utilized for analysis was alkaline sucrose-gradient centrifugation of DNA. The results of these studies show that a repair pathway exists for the damage produced in DNA by bleomycin. DNA from BLM-treated cells shows a decrease in molecular weight, caused by chemical or enzymatic incision at sites of drug action. If the drug is removed, the DNA rapidly returns to high molecular weight, demonstrating reformation of damaged DNA. This repair response to BLM-damage was also confirmed in fibroblasts isolated from patients with putative DNA-repair defects. We observed that the response (to BLM) of cells from patients with Fanconi anemia was altered in that the fall in molecular weight of DNA from treated cells was not as great as that observed in other cell strains after drug treatment.
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