Quantitation of radiation-, chemical-, or enzyme-induced single strand breaks in nonradioactive DNA by alkaline gel electrophoresis: Application to pyrimidine dimers

Steven E. Freeman, Anthony D. Blackett, Denise C. Monteleone, Richard B. Setlow, Betsy M. Sutherland, John C. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

163 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have developed an alkaline agarose gel method for quantitating single strand breaks in nanogram quantities of nonradioactive DNA. After electrophoresis together with molecular length standards, the DNA is neutralized, stained with ethidium bromide, photographed, and the density profiles recorded with a computer controlled scanner. The median lengths, number average molecular lengths, and length average molecular lengths of the DNAs can be computed by using the mobilities of the molecular length standards. The frequency of single strand breaks can then be determined by comparison of the corresponding average molecular lengths of DNAs treated and not treated with single strand break-inducing agents (radiation, chemicals, or lesion-specific endonuclease). Single strand break yields (induced at pyrimidine dimer sites in uv-irradiated human fibroblasts DNA by the dimer-specific endonuclease from Micrococcus luteus) from our method agree with values obtained for the same DNAs from alkaline sucrose gradient analysis. The method has been used to determine pyrimidine dimer yields in DNA from biopsies of human skin irradiated in situ. It will be especially useful in determining the frequency of single strand breaks (or lesions convertible to single strand breaks by specific cleaving reagents or enzymes) in small quantities of DNA from cells or tissues not amenable to radioactive labeling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-129
Number of pages11
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Volume158
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • DNA damage
  • gel electrophoresis
  • nucleic acids
  • pyrimidine dimers
  • single strand breaks
  • uv

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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