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Xeroderma pigmentosum cells with normal levels of excision repair have a defect in DNA synthesis after UV-irradiation.

Cells cultured from most patients suffering from the sunlight-sensitive hereditary disorder xeroderma pigmentosum are defective in the ability to excise ultraviolet light (UV)-induced pyrimidine dimers from their DNA. There is, however, one class of these patients whose cells are completely normal in this excision repair process. We have found that these cells have an abnormality in the manner in which DNA is synthesized after UV-irradiation. The time taken to convert initially low-molecular-weight DNA synthesized in UV-irradiated cells into high-molecular-weight DNA similar in size to that in untreated cells is much greater in these variants than in normal cells. Furthermore, this slow conversion of low to high-molecular-weight newly synthesized DNA is drastically inhibited by caffeine, which has no effect in normal cells. Two cell lines from classes of xeroderma pigmentosum that are defective in excision-repair show intermediate effects, with regard to both the time taken to convert newly synthesized DNA to high molecular weight and the inhibition of this process by caffeine.

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