DNA alkylation lesions and their repair in human cells: modification of the comet assay with 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase (AlkD).
ABSTRACT 3-methyladenine DNA glycosylase (AlkD) belongs to a new family of DNA glycosylases; it initiates repair of cytotoxic and promutagenic alkylated bases (its main substrates being 3-methyladenine and 7-methylguanine). The modification of the comet assay (single cell gel electrophoresis) using AlkD enzyme thus allows assessment of specific DNA alkylation lesions. The resulting baseless sugars are alkali-labile, and under the conditions of the alkaline comet assay they appear as DNA strand breaks. The alkylating agent methyl methanesulfonate (MMS) was used to induce alkylation lesions and to optimize conditions for the modified comet assay method with AlkD on human lymphoblastoid (TK6) cells. We also studied cellular and in vitro DNA repair of alkylated bases in DNA in TK6 cells after treatment with MMS. Results from cellular repair indicate that 50% of DNA alkylation is repaired in the first 60 min. The in vitro repair assay shows that while AlkD recognises most alkylation lesions after 60 min, a cell extract from TK6 cells recognises most of the MMS-induced DNA adducts already in the first 15 min of incubation, with maximum detection of lesions after 60 min' incubation. Additionally, we tested the in vitro repair capacity of human lymphocyte extracts from 5 individuals and found them to be able to incise DNA alkylations in the same range as AlkD. The modification of the comet assay with AlkD can be useful for in vitro and in vivo genotoxicity studies to detect alkylation damage and repair and also for human biomonitoring and molecular epidemiology studies.
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ABSTRACT: DNA glycosylases safeguard the genome by locating and excising chemically modified bases from DNA. AlkD is a recently discovered bacterial DNA glycosylase that removes positively charged methylpurines from DNA, and was predicted to adopt a protein fold distinct from from those of other DNA repair proteins. The crystal structure of Bacillus cereus AlkD presented here shows that the protein is composed exclusively of helical HEAT-like repeats, which form a solenoid perfectly shaped to accommodate a DNA duplex on the concave surface. Structural analysis of the variant HEAT repeats in AlkD provides a rationale for how this protein scaffolding motif has been modified to bind DNA. We report 7mG excision and DNA binding activities of AlkD mutants, along with a comparison of alkylpurine DNA glycosylase structures. Together, these data provide important insight into the requirements for alkylation repair within DNA and suggest that AlkD utilizes a novel strategy to manipulate DNA in its search for alkylpurine bases.Journal of Molecular Biology 09/2008; 381(1):13-23. · 3.91 Impact Factor