On key lesions and all that: A tribute to Paul Lohman

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This paper is a tribute to Paul Lohman at the occasion of his retirement from the position of Professor in the Medical Faculty at the Leiden University in The Netherlands and as Director of its Department of Radiation Genetics and Chemical Mutagenesis. Paul's contributions to the science of genetic toxicology are discussed in the context of more recent insights as to how mammalian cells process DNA damage, and how this may lead to cancer and, possibly, aging. Starting with his work on the characterization of UV-induced DNA repair in cultured cells from xeroderma pigmentosum patients and the development of methodology for monitoring the removal of UV-induced lesions in human cells, the concept of the key lesion is introduced. Among the myriad of DNA lesions that can be induced in DNA as a consequence of exposure to a range of natural or synthetic mutagens, key lesions are the ones responsible for subsequent adverse effects, for example, because they give rise to mutation. The development of methods using immunofluorescence microscopy to detect and identify such key lesions and quantitate them at the single cell level, is one of the highlights of Paul's career. Based on the perceived need to evaluate mutational end points in vivo in relation to specific lesions identified by his immunofluorescence methods, Paul subsequently made crucial contributions to the development of the first transgenic mouse model to measure mutations in chromosomally integrated reporter genes. In parallel to his experimental work, Paul greatly contributed to genetic toxicology at the theoretical level by his work on the development and evaluation of methods for assessment or prediction of risks of exposure to environmental mutagens. Finally, Paul has served the discipline of genetic toxicology in a more administrative role in various ways, both locally as one of the founders of the Medical Genetics Center South-West Netherlands and internationally by playing a prominent role in organizations such as ICPEMC. Here, his numerous contributions to the journal Mutation Research, both as author on many papers and as Executive Managing Editor should not go unmentioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-134
Number of pages14
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • DNA repair
  • Genetic toxicology
  • Key lesion
  • Mutation
  • Risk assessment
  • Tribute

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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