The G2 checkpoint activated by DNA damage does not prevent genome instability in plant cells

Biol Res. 2006;39(2):331-40. doi: 10.4067/s0716-97602006000200015. Epub 2006 Jul 25.


Root growth, G2 length, and the frequency of aberrant mitoses and apoptotic nuclei were recorded after a single X-ray irradiation, ranging from 2.5 to 40 Gy, in Allium cepa L. root meristematic cells. After 72 h of recovery, root growth was reduced in a dose-dependent manner from 10 to 40 Gy, but not at 2.5 or 5 Gy doses. Flow cytometry plus TUNEL (TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labeling) showed that activation of apoptosis occurred only after 20 and 40 Gy of X-rays. Nevertheless, irrespective of the radiation dose, conventional flow cytometry showed that cells accumulated in G2 (4C DNA content). Simultaneously, the mitotic index fell, though a mitotic wave appeared later. Cell accumulation in G2 was transient and partially reversed by caffeine, thus it was checkpoint-dependent. Strikingly, the additional G2 time provided by this checkpoint was never long enough to complete DNA repair. Then, in all cases, some G2 cells with still-unrepaired DNA underwent checkpoint adaptation, i.e., they entered into the late mitotic wave with chromatid breaks. These cells and those produced by the breakage of chromosomal bridges in anaphase will reach the G1 of the next cell cycle unrepaired, ensuring the appearance of genome instability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / radiation effects
  • DNA Damage*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Flow Cytometry
  • G2 Phase / physiology*
  • Genome, Plant / radiation effects*
  • Genomic Instability / radiation effects*
  • Meristem / genetics
  • Meristem / radiation effects
  • Mitosis / radiation effects
  • Onions / cytology
  • Onions / genetics
  • Onions / radiation effects*
  • Plant Roots / cytology
  • Plant Roots / growth & development
  • Time Factors