Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) is an autosomal recessive human disease, characterized by an extreme sensitivity to sunlight, caused by the inability of cells to repair UV light-induced damage to DNA. Cell fusion was used to transfer fragments of Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) chromosomes into XP cells. The hybrid cells exhibited UV resistance and DNA repair characteristics comparable to those expressed by CHO cells, and their DNA had greater homology with CHO DNA than did the DNA from XP cells. Control experiments consisted of fusion of irradiated and unirradiated XP cells and repeated exposure of unfused XP cells to UV doses used for hybrid selection. These treatments did not result in an increase in UV resistance, repair capability, or homology with CHO DNA. The hybrid cell lines do not, therefore, appear to be XP revertants. The establishment of these stable hybrid cell lines is an initial step toward identifying and cloning CHO DNA repair genes that complement the XP defect in human cells. The method should also be applicable to cloning genes for other diseases, such as ataxia-telangiectasia and Fanconi's anemia.
D Karentz and J E Cleaver. Repair-deficient xeroderma pigmentosum cells made UV light resistant by fusion with X-ray-inactivated Chinese hamster cells. Mol Cell Biol. 1986 Oct; 6(10): 3428–3432.