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Radiodurans' rings and radioresistance

Jonathan B Weitzman

Genome Biology 2003, 4:spotlight-20030113-01  doi:10.1186/gb-spotlight-20030113-01

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:13 January 2003

© 2003 BioMed Central Ltd

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The bacterium Deinococcus radiodurans has the remarkable ability to resist doses of ionising radiation many times higher than those that kill other organisms. In the January 10 Science Smadar Levin-Zaidman and colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, report that the D. radiodurans genome has an unusual ring-like structure that may account for its radioresistance by restricting the diffusion of radiation-generated free DNA ends (Science 2003, 299:254-256). Scanning electron microscopy revealed that D. radiodurans cells have a tetrad morphology with each quarter containing equal amounts of DNA (each contains a single copy of the bacterial genome). This compartmentalization suggests that DNA repair after radiation does not involve homologous recombination. The bacterial nucleoids adopt a toroidal morphology that presumably dictates a rigid structure, facilitating template-independent, error-free, end-joining of DNA breaks.


  1. Resistance to radiation.

    PubMed Abstract OpenURL

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    Weizmann Institute of Science