Immortalization and characterization of Nijmegen Breakage syndrome fibroblasts

Mutat Res. 1999 May 14;434(1):17-27. doi: 10.1016/s0921-8777(99)00009-9.


Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome (NBS) is a very rare autosomal recessive chromosomal instability disorder characterized by microcephaly, growth retardation, immunodeficiency and a high incidence of malignancies. Cells from NBS patients are hypersensitive to ionizing radiation (IR) and display radioresistant DNA synthesis (RDS). NBS is caused by mutations in the NBS1 gene on chromosome 8q21 encoding a protein called nibrin. This protein is a component of the hMre11/hRad50 protein complex, suggesting a defect in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair and/or cell cycle checkpoint function in NBS cells. We established SV40 transformed, immortal NBS fibroblasts, from primary cells derived from a Polish patient, carrying the common founder mutation 657del5. Immortalized NBS cells, like primary cells, are X-ray sensitive (2-fold) and display RDS following IR. They show an increased sensitivity to bleomycin (3.5-fold), etoposide (2.5-fold), camptothecin (3-fold) and mitomycin C (1.5-fold), but normal sensitivity towards UV-C. Despite the clear hypersensitivity towards DSB-inducing agents, the overall rates of DSB-rejoining in NBS cells as measured by pulsed field gel electrophoresis were found to be very similar to those of wild type cells. This indicates that the X-ray sensitivity of NBS cells is not directly caused by an overt defect in DSB repair.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics*
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Bleomycin / pharmacology
  • Camptothecin / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / radiation effects
  • Cell Transformation, Viral*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chromosome Breakage*
  • DNA / drug effects
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / radiation effects
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Repair
  • Etoposide / pharmacology
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / radiation effects
  • Fibroblasts / virology*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Mitomycin / pharmacology
  • Mutation
  • Syndrome
  • X-Rays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Bleomycin
  • Mitomycin
  • Etoposide
  • DNA
  • Camptothecin