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Association between transcriptional activity, local chromatin structure, and the efficiencies of both subpathways of nucleotide excision repair of melphalan adducts.The repair of melphalan-induced N-alkylpurine monoadducts and interstrand cross-links was examined in different repair backgrounds, focusing on four genes (beta-actin, p53, N-ras, and delta-globin) with dissimilar transcription activities. Adducts were found to be substrates for both global genome repair (GGR) and transcription-coupled repair (TCR), with TCR being less efficient than GGR. In nucleotide excision repair-deficient cells, adducts accumulated to similar levels in all four genes. The repair efficiency in different gene loci varied in a qualitatively and quantitatively similar way in both GGR-deficient and TCR-deficient backgrounds and correlated with transcriptional activity and local chromatin condensation. No strand-specific repair was found in GGR(+)/TCR(+) cells, implying that GGR dominated. Adducts were lost over two sharply demarcated phases: a rapid phase resulting in the removal within 1 hour of up to approximately 80% of the adducts, and a subsequent phase with t(1/2) approximately 36 to 48 hours. Following pretreatment of cells with alpha-amanitin, the rate of transcription, the state of chromatin condensation, and the repair efficiencies (both TCR and GGR) of the transcribed beta-actin, p53, and N-ras genes became similar to those of the nontranscribed delta-globin gene. In conclusion, a continuous, parallel variation of the state of transcription and local chromatin condensation, on one hand, and the rates of both GGR and TCR, on the other hand, have been shown.