Mechanistic DNA damage simulations in Geant4-DNA Part 2: Electron and proton damage in a bacterial cell

Nathanael Lampe, Mathieu Karamitros, Vincent Breton, Jeremy M.C. Brown, Dousatsu Sakata, David Sarramia, Sébastien Incerti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


We extended a generic Geant4 application for mechanistic DNA damage simulations to an Escherichia coli cell geometry, finding electron damage yields and proton damage yields largely in line with experimental results. Depending on the simulation of radical scavenging, electrons double strand breaks (DSBs) yields range from 0.004 to 0.010 DSB Gy−1 Mbp−1, while protons have yields ranging from 0.004 DSB Gy−1 Mbp−1 at low LETs and with strict assumptions concerning scavenging, up to 0.020 DSB Gy−1 Mbp−1 at high LETs and when scavenging is weakest. Mechanistic DNA damage simulations can provide important limits on the extent to which physical processes can impact biology in low background experiments. We demonstrate the utility of these studies for low dose radiation biology calculating that in E. coli, the median rate at which the radiation background induces double strand breaks is 2.8 × 10−8 DSB day−1, significantly less than the mutation rate per generation measured in E. coli, which is on the order of 10−3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-155
Number of pages10
JournalPhysica Medica
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018


  • DNA damage
  • E. coli
  • Geant4
  • Monte Carlo track structure


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