Benzo(a)pyrene and X-rays induce reversions of the pink-eyed unstable mutation in the retinal pigment epithelium of mice

A. J.R. Bishop, B. Kosaras, R. L. Sidman, R. H. Schiestl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The pink-eyed unstable (p(un)) mutation is the result of a 70kb tandem duplication within the murine p gene. Homologous deletion/recombination of the locus to wild-type occurs spontaneously in embryos and results in pigmented spots in the fur and eye that persist for life. Such deletion events are also inducible by a variety of DNA damaging agents, as we have observed previously with the fur spot assay. Here, we describe the use of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the eye to detect reversion events induced with two differently acting agents. Benzo(a)pyrene (B(a)P) induces a high frequency, and X-ray exposure a more modest increase, of p(un) reversion in both the fur and the eye. The eye-spot assay requires fewer mice for significant results than the fur spot assay. Previous work had elucidated the cell proliferation pattern in the RPE and a position effect variegation phenotype in the pattern of p(un) reversions, which we have confirmed. Acute exposure to B(a)P or X-rays resulted in an increased frequency of reversion events. The majority of the spontaneous reversions lie toward the periphery of the RPE whereas induced events are found more centrally, closer to the optic nerve head. The induced distribution corresponds to the major sites of cell proliferation in the RPE at the time of exposure, and further advocates the proposal that dividing cells are at highest risk to develop deletions. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-40
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 20 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • Deletion
  • Pink-eyed unstable
  • Position effect variegation
  • Recombination
  • X-rays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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