The mei-9 and mus(2)201 mutants of Drosophila melanogaster were identified as mutagen-sensitive mutants on the basis of larval hypersensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate and characterized as excision repair-deficient on the basis of a greatly reduced capacity to excise thymine dimers from cellular DNA. The high degree of larval cytotoxicity observed with a variety of other chemical and physical agents indicated that these mutants may be unable to excise other important classes of DNA adducts. We have measured the ability of the single mutants and the double mutant combination mei-9;mus(2)201 to perform the resynthesis step in excision repair by means of an autoradiographic analysis of unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) induced in a mixed population of primary cells in culture. The 3 strains exhibit no detectable UDS activity in response to applied doses of 1.5-6.0 mM methyl methanesulfonate, 1.0-4.5 mM N-methyl-N-nitrosourea or 10-40 J/m2 254-nm UV light, dose ranges in which control cells exhibit a strong dose-dependent UDS response. The mei-9 and mei-9;mus(2)201 mutants also have no detectable UDS response to X-ray doses of 300-1800 rad, whereas the mus(2)201 mutant exhibits a reduced, but dose-dependent, response over this range. These data correlated well with the degree of larval hypersensitivity of the strains and suggest that mutations at both loci block the excision repair of a wide variety of DNA damage prior to the resynthesis step. ?? 1983.
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