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Adaptation to DNA damage as a bet-hedging mechanism in a fluctuating environment.

TitleAdaptation to DNA damage as a bet-hedging mechanism in a fluctuating environment.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsRoux, P, Salort, D, Xu, Z
JournalR Soc Open Sci
Date Published2021 Aug

In response to DNA damage, efficient repair is essential for cell survival and genome integrity. In eukaryotes, the DNA damage checkpoint is a signalling pathway that coordinates this response and arrests the cell cycle to provide time for repair. However, when repair fails or when the damage is not repairable, cells can eventually bypass the DNA damage checkpoint and undergo cell division despite persistent damage, a process called adaptation to DNA damage. Interestingly, adaptation occurs with a delayed timing compared with repair and shows a large variation in time, two properties that may provide a survival advantage at the population level without interfering with repair. Here, we explore this idea by mathematically modelling cell survival in response to DNA damage and focusing on adaptation parameters. We find that the delayed adaptation timing indeed maximizes survival, but its heterogeneity is beneficial only in a fluctuating damage-inducing environment. Finally, we show that adaptation does not only contribute to survival but also to genome instability and mutations, which might represent another criterion for its selection throughout evolution. Overall, we propose that adaptation can act as a bet-hedging mechanism for cell survival in response to DNA damage.

Alternate JournalR Soc Open Sci
PubMed ID34457341
PubMed Central IDPMC8385375

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