The effects of heavy ion particle irradiation on meiosis and reproductive development in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans were studied. Meiotic pachytene nuclei are significantly resistant to particle irradiation by the heavy ions carbon and argon, as well as to X-rays, but not UV, whereas diplotene to diakinesis stage oocytes and early embryonic cells are not. Chromosomal abnormalities appear in mitotic cells and in maturing oocytes irradiated with heavy ion particles during the diplotene to the early diakinesis stages, but not in oocytes irradiated during the pachytene stage. The pachytene nuclei of ced-3 mutants, which are defective in apoptosis, are similarly resistant to ionizing radiation, but pachytene nuclei depleted for Ce-atl-1 (ataxia-telangiectasia like 1) or Ce-rdh-1/rad-51 are more sensitive. Pachytene nuclei thus appear to effectively repair heavy ion-induced DNA damage by the meiotic homologous recombination system.
- Heavy ion particle
- Homologous recombination