<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >


Exposure to either ionizing or nonionizing radiation can each induce mutations in DNA, although by different mechanisms. Strong ionizing radiation like X-rays and gamma rays can cause single- and double-stranded breaks in the DNA backbone through the formation of hydroxyl radicals on radiation exposure ( [link] ). Ionizing radiation can also modify bases; for example, the deamination of cytosine to uracil, analogous to the action of nitrous acid. K.R. Tindall et al. “Changes in DNA Base Sequence Induced by Gamma-Ray Mutagenesis of Lambda Phage and Prophage.” Genetics 118 no. 4 (1988):551–560. Ionizing radiation exposure is used to kill microbes to sterilize medical devices and foods, because of its dramatic nonspecific effect in damaging DNA, proteins, and other cellular components (see Using Physical Methods to Control Microorganisms ).

Nonionizing radiation, like ultraviolet light, is not energetic enough to initiate these types of chemical changes. However, nonionizing radiation can induce dimer formation between two adjacent pyrimidine bases, commonly two thymines, within a nucleotide strand. During thymine dimer formation, the two adjacent thymines become covalently linked and, if left unrepaired, both DNA replication and transcription are stalled at this point. DNA polymerase may proceed and replicate the dimer incorrectly, potentially leading to frameshift or point mutations.

a) Ionizing radiation (such as X-rays or gamma-rays) create double stranded breaks in DNA (breaks in the backbone). B) Non-ionizing radiation (such as ultraviolet light) causes Ts on the same strand of DNA to bind to each other rather than to the As across from them. This causes a kink in the DNA strand.
(a) Ionizing radiation may lead to the formation of single-stranded and double-stranded breaks in the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA, as well as to the modification of bases (not shown). (b) Nonionizing radiation like ultraviolet light can lead to the formation of thymine dimers, which can stall replication and transcription and introduce frameshift or point mutations.
A Summary of Mutagenic Agents
Mutagenic Agents Mode of Action Effect on DNA Resulting Type of Mutation
Nucleoside analogs
2-aminopurine Is inserted in place of A but base pairs with C Converts AT to GC base pair Point
5-bromouracil Is inserted in place of T but base pairs with G Converts AT to GC base pair Point
Nucleotide-modifying agent
Nitrous oxide Deaminates C to U Converts GC to AT base pair Point
Intercalating agents
Acridine orange, ethidium bromide, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons Distorts double helix, creates unusual spacing between nucleotides Introduces small deletions and insertions Frameshift
Ionizing radiation
X-rays, γ-rays Forms hydroxyl radicals Causes single- and double-strand DNA breaks Repair mechanisms may introduce mutations
X-rays, γ-rays Modifies bases (e.g., deaminating C to U) Converts GC to AT base pair Point
Nonionizing radiation
Ultraviolet Forms pyrimidine (usually thymine) dimers Causes DNA replication errors Frameshift or point
  • How does a base analog introduce a mutation?
  • How does an intercalating agent introduce a mutation?
  • What type of mutagen causes thymine dimers?

Dna repair

The process of DNA replication is highly accurate, but mistakes can occur spontaneously or be induced by mutagens. Uncorrected mistakes can lead to serious consequences for the phenotype. Cells have developed several repair mechanisms to minimize the number of mutations that persist.

Questions & Answers

can you please differentiate between vacuoles and inclusion bodies
Noor Reply
vacuoles consists of watery solution called cell sap while bodies are organelles
5 difference please
Archaea is an odd type of bacteria that live in extreme environments; high salt, high temperature etc. usually called extremophiles.
Danesia Reply
you know anyone that has delt with enterobacter agglomerans.
it is a type of gram negative bacteria and its ubiquitous mostly isolated from plant stuffs and also from faecal material of animals. I heard the name pantoea . it is bacillus in structure.
What are the classification of microorganisms
Portia Reply
Basic classification are eukaryotic and prokaryotic..
micro organisms are classified into three namely: Archaea, eukaryote and prokaryotic organisms
Yay that's right
what is archaea
I've got an issue with the message view
Frank Reply
Is there any effective way to learn microbiology.
Frank Reply
I have some basic knowledge of biology. I mean i'm totally beginner in that field.
Assuming that i'm interested in neuroscience. What is the best way to master that particular subject.
Can you wait me just a minute
Iam apologies for guidance you in neuroscience.. I'm not physician.. I'm microbiologist
My pleasure to join to you
Let's begin a conversation
Frank Reply
What would be saying
do you know anything about microbiology
I have so much studying to catch up on🙄
any study tips
Yas of course
What would you like to know
well i'm studying Pharmacy second year and i just started With Microbiology
if you have any basics to tell us 🤷🏻‍♀️ would be helpful
Yas, first you must know that you will have a very easy lecture..
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology
A simple definition for microbiology
In second stage you will try to learn the type of microbiology.. you must learn the bacteria..its structure.. Classification of bacteria according to shape..
It's so easy
What triggers the natural killer cells
jenipher Reply
microbiology is the study of science which deals with study of microorganism e.g .virus,bacteria
sufian Reply
microbiology is a branch of science that deals with invisible microorganisms.
microbiology is the branch of science which deals with the study of organisms too small to be seen with the naked eye
what is microbiology
Safwan Reply
history of microbiology
give all details about cell
Samim Reply
Give me another names for all hypersensitivity
Don Reply
Give me the modern father of microbiology
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek
Louis pasteur is father of modern microbiology Antonie van Leeuwenhoek is only the father of microbiology
Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first person to observe the mos. whereas pasteur is the one who described about the vaccine , pasteurization etc.
what is the virulence factor
mukhtar Reply
is the abilityof pathogen that cause disease
classification of bacteria
Divya Reply
are classified into 5 as follow 1= bacilli 2= vibro 3= spirilla 4= cocci 5= spirochaetes.
this one is on the basis of morphological structure
gram positive and gram negative according to gram staining
u can find on the basis of temperature resistance and oxygen tolerance
on basis of oxygen requirement they could be categorized as Aerobic anaerobic facultative aerobes microaerophilic
bacteria are classified into the three type according to their shape 1.Round cocci 2.Rod bacilli 3. spiral
sorry to say but for microbes there is no facultative aerobes instead it must b facultative anaerobic and obligatory anaerobic, aerotolerant
Which ones are the microaerophilic
what is the difference between krebs cycle and calvin cycle
Baye Reply

Get the best Microbiology course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Microbiology. OpenStax CNX. Nov 01, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col12087/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Microbiology' conversation and receive update notifications?