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Macromolecular Synthesis in Bacterial Recovery from Ultra-violet Light


Doudney and Haas1 reported a marked increase in survival (‘recovery’) of Escherichia coli strain B when incubated following exposure to ultra-violet light in a nitrogen-free medium. This effect is similar to that described by Roberts and Aldous2 in 1949. In 1958, these workers3 reported that chloramphenicol, added to E. coli strain B cultures after 30 min. incubation following exposure to ultra-violet radiation, promotes a marked increase in survival. However, if the chloramphenicol is added immediately following irradiation, no increase in survival is observed with incubation. The results suggested that protein synthesis is necessary to bacterial recovery initially but is detrimental with subsequent incubation. Recently Gillies and Alper4 confirmed these basic findings with ultra-violet radiation and extended them to X-rays. This communication presents evidence which relates bacterial recovery to metabolic repair of the mechanism for the synthesis of deoxy-ribonucleic acid after damage by irradiation.

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DOUDNEY, C. Macromolecular Synthesis in Bacterial Recovery from Ultra-violet Light. Nature 184, 189–190 (1959).

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