HsRec2/Rad51B is a 350-amino acid protein with a molecular mass of 38,300 Da that appears to be involved in cell cycle regulation and UV-induced apoptosis. The mouse and human genes were isolated based on their homology to a recombinational repair gene from Ustilago maydis and contain functional domains to hRAD51 and hLIM 15 (M. C. Rice et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 94: 7417–7422, 1997). Here, we report the results of studies on the behavior of CHO cells containing a plasmid encoding a wild-type hsRec2/Rad51B, a full-length protein with a single mutation at residue 163, which lies in the putative src site, and a truncated version of hsRec2/Rad51B, containing only the first 100 amino acids at the NH2 terminus. Using fluorescence-activated cell sorting analysis to follow the progression of cells through the cell cycle, we find that stable transfectants constitutively overexpressing the wild-type human Rec2/Rad51B protein exhibit a G1 delay.

In addition, when irradiated with UV at a dose of 15 J/m2, CHO cells transfected with the various hREC2/RAD51B vectors exhibited different responses. Cells expressing the wild-type human Rec2/Rad51B underwent apoptosis, with the greatest cell death occurring 24 h after irradiation. The control cells, which contained an empty vector, and the cells expressing truncated hsRec2/Rad51B or the full-length Rec2 with a mutation at residue 163 did not.

In summary, these findings of cell cycle slowing and UV-induced apoptosis in CHO cells constitutively expressing the human Rec2/Rad51B protein suggest that hsRec2/Rad51B plays a role in a DNA damage surveillance pathway.

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This research was supported by W. W. Smith Foundation Grant c9402 and by Kimeragen, Inc.

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