Nuyts, S., Van Mellaert, L., Theys, J., Landuyt, W., Lambin, P. and Anné, J. The Use of Radiation-Induced Bacterial Promoters in Anaerobic Conditions: A Means to Control Gene Expression in Clostridium-Mediated Therapy for Cancer. Radiat. Res. 155, 716-723 (2001). Apathogenic clostridia, which have been genetically engineered to express therapeutic genes, will specifically target hypoxic and necrotic regions in tumors. This specificity can be improved further if the expression of these genes is controlled by a radiation-induced promoter, leading to spatial and temporal control of gene expression. We isolated two radiation-inducible genes of the SOS repair system of Clostridium. Northern blot experiments confirmed radiation activation of the recA and recN genes at a dose of 2 Gy. The promoter region of these genes was isolated and used to regulate expression of the lacZ gene under anaerobic conditions. For the recA promoter, a significant increase of beta-galactosidase activity of 20-30% was seen after 2 Gy irradiation. The recN promoter did not show a significant induction and had a 50-100 times lower basal expression. Treatment of the recombinant clostridial cultures with the cytostatic agent mitomycin C also resulted in a significant increase of beta-galactosidase activity that was under the control of recA or recN promoter. Oxygen does not appear to be necessary in the activation of the SOS repair system by irradiation as tested with Escherichia coli since recA-deficient and recA-containing strains showed similar survival after treatment with UV and ionizing radiation in the presence or absence of oxygen.