In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (47)

Articles by Michael M. Seidman in JoVE

Other articles by Michael M. Seidman on PubMed

Minimum Number of 2'-O-(2-aminoethyl) Residues Required for Gene Knockout Activity by Triple Helix Forming Oligonucleotides

Biochemistry. Jun, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12056903

Triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) that bind chromosomal targets in living cells may become tools for genome manipulation, including gene knockout, conversion, or recombination. However, triplex formation by DNA third strands, particularly those in the pyrimidine motif, requires nonphysiological pH and Mg(2+) concentration, and this limits their development as gene-targeting reagents. Recent advances in oligonucleotide chemistry promise to solve these problems. For this study TFOs containing 2'-O-methoxy (2'-OMe) and 2'-O-(2-aminoethyl) (2'-AE) ribose substitutions in varying proportion have been constructed. The TFOs were linked to psoralen and designed to target and mutagenize a site in the hamster HPRT gene. T(m) analyses showed that triplexes formed by these TFOs were more stable than the underlying duplex, regardless of 2'-OMe/2'-AE ratio. However, TFOs with 2'-AE residues were more stable in physiological pH than those with only 2'-OMe sugars, as a simple function of 2'-AE content. In contrast, gene knockout assays revealed a threshold requirement--TFOs with three or four 2'-AE residues were at least 10-fold more active than the TFO with two 2'-AE residues. The HPRT knockout frequencies with the most active TFOs were 300-400-fold above the background, whereas there was no activity against the APRT gene, a monitor of nonspecific mutagenesis.

Cell Cycle Modulation of Gene Targeting by a Triple Helix-forming Oligonucleotide

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Mar, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12538585

Successful gene-targeting reagents must be functional under physiological conditions and must bind chromosomal target sequences embedded in chromatin. Triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) recognize and bind specific sequences via the major groove of duplex DNA and may have potential for gene targeting in vivo. We have constructed chemically modified, psoralen-linked TFOs that mediate site-specific mutagenesis of a chromosomal gene in living cells. Here we show that targeting efficiency is sensitive to the biology of the cell, specifically, cell cycle status. Targeted mutagenesis was variable across the cycle with the greatest activity in S phase. This was the result of differential TFO binding as measured by cross-link formation. Targeted cross-linking was low in quiescent cells but substantially enhanced in S phase cells with adducts in approximately 20-30% of target sequences. 75-80% of adducts were repaired faithfully, whereas the remaining adducts were converted into mutations (>5% mutation frequency). Clones with mutations could be recovered by direct screening of colonies chosen at random. These results demonstrate high frequency target binding and target mutagenesis by TFOs in living cells. Successful protocols for TFO-mediated manipulation of chromosomal sequences are likely to reflect a combination of appropriate oligonucleotide chemistry and manipulation of the cell biology.

Site-specific Mutagenesis by Triple Helix-forming Oligonucleotides Containing a Reactive Nucleoside Analog

Nucleic Acids Research. Mar, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12626730

The specific recognition of homopurine-homo pyrimidine regions in duplex DNA by triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) provides an attractive strategy for genetic manipulation. Alkylation of nucleobases with functionalized TFOs would have the potential for site-directed mutagenesis. Recently, we demonstrated that a TFO bearing 2-amino-6-vinylpurine derivative, 1, achieves triplex-mediated reaction with high selectivity toward the cytosine of the G-C target site. In this report, we have investigated the use of this reagent to target mutations to a specific site in a shuttle vector plasmid, which replicates in mammalian cells. TFOs bearing 1 produced adducts at the complementary position of 1 and thereby introduced mutations at that site during replication/repair of the plasmid in mammalian cells. Reagents that produce covalent cytosine modifications are relatively rare. These TFOs enable the preparation of templates carrying targeted cytosine adducts for in vitro and in vivo studies. The ability to target mutations may prove useful as a tool for studying DNA repair, and as a technique for gene therapy and genetic engineering.

The Potential for Gene Repair Via Triple Helix Formation

The Journal of Clinical Investigation. Aug, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12925687

Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) can bind to polypurine/polypyrimidine regions in DNA in a sequence-specific manner. The specificity of this binding raises the possibility of using triplex formation for directed genome modification, with the ultimate goal of repairing genetic defects in human cells. Several studies have demonstrated that treatment of mammalian cells with TFOs can provoke DNA repair and recombination, in a manner that can be exploited to introduce desired sequence changes. This review will summarize recent advances in this field while also highlighting major obstacles that remain to be overcome before the application of triplex technology to therapeutic gene repair can be achieved.

Enhancement and Inhibition by 2'-O-hydroxyethyl Residues of Gene Targeting Mediated by Triple Helix Forming Oligonucleotides

Nucleosides, Nucleotides & Nucleic Acids. Oct, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14609232

Reagents that recognize and bind specific genomic sequences in living mammalian cells would have great potential for genetic manipulation, including gene knockout, strain construction, and gene therapy. Triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) bind specific sequences via the major groove, but pyrimidine motif TFOs are limited by their poor activity under physiological conditions. Base and sugar analogues that overcome many of these limitations have been described. In particular, 2'-O-modifications influence sugar pucker and third strand conformation, and have been important to the development of bioactive TFOs. Here we have analyzed the impact of 2'-O-hydroxyethyl (2'-HE) substitutions, in combination with other 2' modifications. We prepared modified TFOs conjugated to psoralen and measured targeting activity in a gene knockout assay in cultured hamster cells. We find that 2'-HE residues enhance the bioactivity of TFOs containing 2'-O-methyl (2'-OMe) modifications, but reduce the bioactivity of TFOs containing, in addition, 2'-O-aminoethyl (2'-AE) residues.

Gene Targeting by Triple Helix-forming Oligonucleotides

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dec, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 14751832

Effective gene targeting reagents would have widespread utility for genomic manipulation including transgenic cell and animal construction and for gene therapy. They would also be useful in basic research as probes of chromatin structure, and as tools for studying the repair and mutagenesis of targeted DNA damage. We are developing triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) for gene targeting in living mammalian cells. Challenges to TFO bioactivity include the impediments to the biochemistry of triplex formation presented by the physiological environment and the charge repulsion between the duplex and the third strand. In addition, there are biological constraints to target access imposed by mammalian chromatin structure. Here we describe the oligonucleotide modification format that appears to support biological activity of TFOs. In addition we show that manipulation of the cell biology, specifically the cell cycle, has a dramatic influence on TFO bioactivity.

Importance of Clustered 2'-O-(2-aminoethyl) Residues for the Gene Targeting Activity of Triple Helix-forming Oligonucleotides

Biochemistry. Feb, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 14756571

We are developing triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) as gene targeting reagents in living mammalian cells. We have described psoralen-linked TFOs with 2'-O-methyl and 2'-O-(2-aminoethyl) (2'-AE) substitutions that are active in a gene knockout assay in cultured cells. The assay is based on mutagenesis by psoralen, a photoactive DNA cross-linker. Previous work showed that TFOs with three or four 2'-AE residues were disproportionately more active than those with one or two substitutions. Here we demonstrate that for optimal bioactivity the 2'-AE residues must be clustered rather than dispersed. We have further characterized bioactive and inactive TFOs in an effort to identify biochemical and biophysical correlates of biological activity. While thermal stability is a standard monitor of TFO biophysical activity, we find that T(m) values do not distinguish bioactive and inactive TFOs. In contrast, measurements of TFO association rates appear to correlate well with bioactivity, in that triplex formation occurs disproportionately faster with the TFOs containing three or four 2'-AE residues. We asked if extending the incubation time prior to photoactivation would enhance the bioactivity of a TFO with a slow on rate relative to the TFO with a faster association rate. However, there was no change in bioactivity differential. These results are compatible with a model in which TFO binding in vivo is followed by relatively rapid elution by cellular functions, similar to that described for transcription factors. Under these circumstances, TFOs with faster on rates would be favored because they would be more likely to be in triplexes at the time of photoactivation.

Linkage Between Werner Syndrome Protein and the Mre11 Complex Via Nbs1

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. May, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15026416

The Werner syndrome and the Nijmegen breakage syndrome are recessive genetic disorders that show increased genomic instability, cancer predisposition, hypersensitivity to mitomycin C and gamma-irradiation, shortened telomeres, and cell cycle defects. The protein mutated in the premature aging disease known as the Werner syndrome is designated WRN and is a member of the RecQ helicase family. The Nbs1 protein is mutated in Nijmegen breakage syndrome individuals and is part of the mammalian Mre11 complex together with the Mre11 and Rad50 proteins. Here, we show that WRN associates with the Mre11 complex via binding to Nbs1 in vitro and in vivo. In response to gamma-irradiation or mitomycin C, WRN leaves the nucleoli and co-localizes with the Mre11 complex in the nucleoplasm. We detect an increased association between WRN and the Mre11 complex after cellular exposure to gamma-irradiation. Small interfering RNA and complementation experiments demonstrated convergence of WRN and Nbs1 in response to gamma-irradiation or mitomycin C. Nbs1 is required for the Mre11 complex promotion of WRN helicase activity. Taken together, these results demonstrate a functional link between the two genetic diseases with partially overlapping phenotypes in a pathway that responds to DNA double strand breaks and interstrand cross-links.

The Werner Syndrome Helicase and Exonuclease Cooperate to Resolve Telomeric D Loops in a Manner Regulated by TRF1 and TRF2

Molecular Cell. Jun, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15200954

Werner syndrome (WS) is characterized by features of premature aging and is caused by loss of the RecQ helicase protein WRN. WS fibroblasts display defects associated with telomere dysfunction, including accelerated telomere erosion and premature senescence. In yeast, RecQ helicases act in an alternative pathway for telomere lengthening (ALT) via homologous recombination. We found that WRN associates with telomeres when dissociation of telomeric D loops is likely during replication and recombination. In human ALT cells, WRN associates directly with telomeric DNA. The majority of TRF1/PCNA colocalizing foci contained WRN in live S phase ALT cells but not in telomerase-positive HeLa cells. Biochemically, the WRN helicase and 3' to 5' exonuclease act simultaneously and cooperate to release the 3' invading tail from a telomeric D loop in vitro. The telomere binding proteins TRF1 and TRF2 limit digestion by WRN. We propose roles for WRN in dissociating telomeric structures in telomerase-deficient cells.

Werner Syndrome Protein 1367 Variants and Disposition Towards Coronary Artery Disease in Caucasian Patients

Mechanisms of Ageing and Development. Jul, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15246744

The leading causes of death for individuals with Werner syndrome (WS) are myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke. The WS gene encodes a nuclear protein with both helicase and exonuclease activities. While individuals with WS have mutations that result in truncated, inactive proteins, several sequence variants have been described in apparently unaffected individuals. Some of these gene polymorphisms encode non-conservative amino acid substitutions, and it is expected that the changes would affect enzyme activity, although this has not been determined. Two research groups have studied the Cys/Arg 1367 polymorphism (located near the nuclear localization signal) in healthy and MI patients. Their results suggest that the Arg allele is protective against MI. We have characterized the Cys (C) and Arg (R) forms of the protein and find no notable difference in helicase and nuclease activities, or in nuclear/cytoplasmic distribution. The frequency of the C/R alleles in healthy individuals and subjects with coronary artery disease (CAD) drawn from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA) was also examined. There was no indication that the R allele was protective against CAD. We conclude that the C/R polymorphism does not affect enzyme function or localization and does not influence CAD incidence in the BLSA cohort.

Setting Standards in Gene Repair

Oligonucleotides. 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15294071

Oligonucleotide Mediated Gene Targeting in Mammalian Cells

Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology. Oct, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15544490

Gene targeting can be loosely defined as a process through which a specific chromosomal sequence is recognized and bound by a reagent designed for the purpose. The endpoint may be modulation of events at the target, such as transcription, or a permanent change in sequence at the site. A facile strategy for mammalian cells would have broad applications in basic and applied research, including gene therapy. Although approaches based on homologous recombination are routinely employed for transgenic animal construction, they are too laborious and inefficient for broader use. Consequently there has been a longstanding interest in developing effective synthetic reagents. Sequence recognition can be either at the level of a single strand or via the major or minor grooves, and specific approaches for each route are under development. In this review several oligonucleotide-based strategies will be discussed. These include single and double strand oligonucleotides designed to attack single strand targets, and triple helix forming olgonucleotides and peptide nucleic acids, intended for double stranded targets.

Triplex-induced Recombination and Repair in the Pyrimidine Motif

Nucleic Acids Research. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15961731

Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) bind DNA in a sequence-specific manner at polypurine/polypyrimidine sites and mediate targeted genome modification. Triplexes are formed by either pyrimidine TFOs, which bind parallel to the purine strand of the duplex (pyrimidine, parallel motif), or purine TFOs, which bind in an anti-parallel orientation (purine, anti-parallel motif). Both purine and pyrimidine TFOs, when linked to psoralen, have been shown to direct psoralen adduct formation in cells, leading to mutagenesis or recombination. However, only purine TFOs have been shown to mediate genome modification without the need for a targeted DNA-adduct. In this work, we report the ability of a series of pyrimidine TFOs, with selected chemical modifications, to induce repair and recombination in two distinct episomal targets in mammalian cells in the absence of any DNA-reactive conjugate. We find that TFOs containing N3'-->P5' phosphoramidate (amidate), 5-(1-propynyl)-2'-deoxyuridine (pdU), 2'-O-methyl-ribose (2'-O-Me), 2'-O-(2-aminoethyl)-ribose, or 2'-O, 4'-C-methylene bridged or locked nucleic acid (LNA)-modified nucleotides show substantially increased formation of non-covalent triplexes under physiological conditions compared with unmodified DNA TFOs. However, of these modified TFOs, only the amidate and pdU-modified TFOs mediate induced recombination in cells and stimulate repair in cell extracts, at levels comparable to those seen with purine TFOs in similar assays. These results show that amidate and pdU-modified TFOs can be used as reagents to stimulate site-specific gene targeting without the need for conjugation to DNA-reactive molecules. By demonstrating the potential for induced repair and recombination with appropriately modified pyrimidine TFOs, this work expands the options available for triplex-mediated gene targeting.

Triplex Targeted Genomic Crosslinks Enter Separable Deletion and Base Substitution Pathways

Nucleic Acids Research. 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16186129

We have synthesized triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) that target a psoralen (pso) interstrand crosslink to a specific chromosomal site in mammalian cells. Mutagenesis of the targeted crosslinks results in base substitutions and deletions. Identification of the gene products involved in mutation formation is important for developing practical applications of pso-TFOs, and may be informative about the metabolism of other interstrand crosslinks. We have studied mutagenesis of a pso-TFO genomic crosslink in repair proficient and deficient cells. Deficiencies in non homologous end joining and mismatch repair do not influence mutation patterns. In contrast, the frequency of base substitutions is dependent on the activity of ERCC1/XPF and polymerase zeta, but independent of other nucleotide excision repair (NER) or transcription coupled repair (TCR) genes. In NER/TCR deficient cells the frequency of deletions rises, indicating that in wild-type cells NER/TCR functions divert pso-TFO crosslinks from processes that result in deletions. We conclude that targeted pso-TFO crosslinks can enter genetically distinct mutational routes that resolve to base substitutions or deletions.

The Development of Bioactive Triple Helix-forming Oligonucleotides

Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Nov, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16394131

We are developing triple helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) as gene targeting reagents in mammalian cells. We have described psoralen-conjugated TFOs containing 2'-O-methyl (2'OMe) and 2'-O-aminoethoxy (AE) ribose substitutions. TFOs with a cluster of 3-4 AE residues, with all other sugars as 2'OMe, were bioactive in a gene knockout assay in mammalian cells. In contrast, TFOs with one or two clustered, or three dispersed, AE residues were inactive. Thermal stability analysis of the triplexes indicated that there were only incremental differences between the active and inactive TFOs. However the active and inactive TFOs could be distinguished by their association kinetics. The bioactive TFOs showed markedly greater on-rates than the inactive TFOs. It appears that the on-rate is a better predictor of TFO bioactivity than thermal stability. Our data are consistent with a model in which a cluster of 3-4 AE residues stabilizes the nucleation event that precedes formation of a complete triplex. It is likely that triplexes in cells are much less stable than triplexes in vitro probably as a result of elution by chromatin-associated translocases and helicases. Consequently the biologic assay will favor TFOs that can bind and rebind genomic targets quickly.

Targeted Cross-linking of the Human Beta-globin Gene in Living Cells Mediated by a Triple Helix Forming Oligonucleotide

Biochemistry. Feb, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16460044

Triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) may have utility as gene targeting reagents for "in situ" gene therapy of genetic disorders. Triplex formation is challenged by negative charge repulsion between third strand and duplex phosphates, and destabilizing positive charge repulsion between adjacent protonated cytosines within pyrimidine motif third strands. Here we describe the synthesis of TFOs designed to target a site in the human beta-globin gene, which is the locus for mutations that underlie the beta-globinopathies, including sickle cell anemia. The target is an uninterrupted polypurine:polypyrimidine sequence, containing four adjacent cytosines, next to a psoralen cross-link site. Pyrimidine motif TFOs that contained four adjacent cytosines or 5-methylcytosines did not form stable triplexes at physiological pH, despite the introduction of otherwise stabilizing base and sugar analogues. We synthesized a series of pso-TFOs containing 2'-O-methyl (OMe) and 2'-O-aminoethoxy substitutions (AE), as well as 8-oxo-adenine (A8) and 2'-O-methylpseudoisocytidine (P) as neutral cytosine replacements. Thermal stability measurements indicated that TFOs with A8 did not meet criteria established in previous work. However, TFOs with P did form triplexes with appropriate T(m) and k(ON) values. A pso-TFO with AE and P residues was sufficiently active to permit the determination of targeting in living cells by direct measurement of cross-link formation at the target site. Our results validate the modification format described in our previous studies and indicate that P substitutions are an effective solution to the problem of targeting genomic sequences containing adjacent cytosines.

Psoralen Conjugates for Visualization of Genomic Interstrand Cross-links Localized by Laser Photoactivation

Bioconjugate Chemistry. Mar-Apr, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17373769

DNA interstrand cross-links are formed by chemotherapy drugs as well as by products of normal oxidative metabolism. Despite their importance, the pathways of cross-link metabolism are poorly understood. Laser confocal microscopy has become a powerful tool for studying the repair of DNA lesions that can be detected by immunofluorescent reagents. In order to apply this approach to cross-link repair, we have synthesized conjugates of 4,5',8-trimethylpsoralen (TMP) and easily detected compounds such as Lissamine rhodamine B sulfonyl chloride (LRB-SC), biotin, and digoxigenin. These conjugates are activated by UVA, and we have analyzed the intracellular localization of DNA damage and DNA reactivity by confocal and immunofluorescence microscopy. The LRB-SC-TMP conjugate 2 appeared mainly in the mitochondria, while the biotin-TMP conjugate 4 preferentially localized in the cytoplasm. Adducts formed by UVA and digoxigenin conjugates of TMP 7a and 4,5'-dimethylangelicin (DMA) 7b, which forms only monoadducts, were largely localized to the nucleus. Exposure of cells incubated with 7a and 7b to a 364 nm UV laser directed toward defined nuclear regions of interest resulted in localized adduct formation which could be visualized by immunofluorescence. Repair-proficient cells were able to remove the photoadducts, while repair-deficient cells were unable to repair the damage. The results indicated that the digoxigenin-TMP conjugate 7a and digoxigenin-DMA conjugate 7b can be used for studying the repair of laser localized DNA monoadducts and cross-links.

A Human Neuronal Tissue Culture Model for Lesch-Nyhan Disease

Journal of Neurochemistry. May, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17448149

Mutations in the gene encoding the purine salvage enzyme, hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) cause Lesch-Nyhan disease, a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by cognitive, neurological, and behavioral abnormalities. Despite detailed knowledge of the enzyme's function, the key pathophysiological changes that accompany loss of purine recycling are unclear. To facilitate delineating the consequences of HPRT deficiency, four independent HPRT-deficient sublines of the human dopaminergic neuroblastoma, SK-N-BE(2) M17, were isolated by targeted mutagenesis with triple helix-forming oligonucleotides. As a group, these HPRT-deficient cells showed several significant abnormalities: (i) impaired purine recycling with accumulation of hypoxanthine, guanine, and xanthine, (ii) reduced guanylate energy charge and GTP:GDP ratio, but normal adenylate energy charge and no changes in any adenine nucleotide ratios, (iii) increased levels of UTP and NADP+, (iv) reduced DOPA decarboxylase, but normal monoamines, and (v) reduction in cell soma size. These cells combine the analytical power of multiple lines and a human, neuronal origin to provide an important tool to investigate the pathophysiology of HPRT deficiency.

Extensive Sugar Modification Improves Triple Helix Forming Oligonucleotide Activity in Vitro but Reduces Activity in Vivo

Biochemistry. Sep, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17691818

We are developing triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) for gene targeting. Previously, we synthesized bioactive TFOs containing 2'-O-methylribose (2'-OMe) and 2'-O-aminoethylribose (2'-AE) residues. Active TFOs contained four contiguous 2'-AE residues and formed triplexes with high thermal stability and rapid association kinetics. In an effort to further improve bioactivity, we synthesized three series of TFOs containing the 2'-AE patch and additional ribose modifications distributed throughout the remainder of the oligonucleotide. These were either additional 2'-AE residues, the conformationally locked BNA/LNA ribose with a 2'-O,4'-C-methylene bridge, or the 2'-O,4'-C-ethylene analogue (ENA). The additionally modified TFOs formed triplexes with greater thermal stability than the reference TFO, and some had improved association kinetics. However, the most active TFOs in the biochemical and biophysical assays were the least active in the bioassay. We measured the thermal stability of triplexes formed by the TFOs in each series on duplex targets containing a change in sequence at a single position. The Tm value of the variant sequence triplexes increased as the number of all additional modifications increased. A simple explanation for the failure of the improved TFOs in the bioassay was that the increased affinity for nonspecific targets lowered the effective nuclear concentration. Enhancement of TFO bioactivity will require chemical modifications that improve interaction with the specific targets while retaining selectivity against mismatched sequences.

Twenty-fifth Anniversary Meeting of the International Tinnitus Forum, September 15, 2007, Washington, DC

The International Tinnitus Journal. 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 18229783

Targeted Gene Knock in and Sequence Modulation Mediated by a Psoralen-linked Triplex-forming Oligonucleotide

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Apr, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18303025

Information from exogenous donor DNA can be introduced into the genome via homology-directed repair (HDR) pathways. These pathways are stimulated by double strand breaks and by DNA damage such as interstrand cross-links. We have employed triple helix-forming oligonucleotides linked to psoralen (pso-TFO) to introduce a DNA interstrand cross-link at a specific site in the genome of living mammalian cells. Co-introduction of duplex DNA with target region homology resulted in precise knock in of the donor at frequencies 2-3 orders of magnitude greater than with donor alone. Knock-in was eliminated in cells deficient in ERCC1-XPF, which is involved in recombinational pathways as well as cross-link repair. Separately, single strand oligonucleotide donors (SSO) were co-introduced with the pso-TFO. These were 10-fold more active than the duplex knock-in donor. SSO efficacy was further elevated in cells deficient in ERCC1-XPF, in contrast to the duplex donor. Resected single strand ends have been implicated as critical intermediates in sequence modulation by SSO, as well as duplex donor knock in. We asked whether there would be a competition between the donor species for these ends if both were present with the pso-TFO. The frequency of duplex donor knock in was unaffected by a 100-fold molar excess of the SSO. The same result was obtained when the homing endonuclease I-SceI was used to initiate HDR at the target site. We conclude that the entry of double strand breaks into distinct HDR pathways is controlled by factors other than the nucleic acid partners in those pathways.

Human Replication Protein A Melts a DNA Triple Helix Structure in a Potent and Specific Manner

Biochemistry. May, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18410127

Alternate DNA structures other than double-stranded B-form DNA can potentially impede cellular processes such as transcription and replication. The DNA triplex helix and G4 tetraplex structures that form by Hoogsteen hydrogen bonding are two examples of alternate DNA structures that can be a source of genomic instability. In this study, we have examined the ability of human replication protein A (RPA), a single-stranded DNA binding protein that is implicated in all facets of DNA metabolism, to destabilize DNA triplexes and tetraplexes. Biochemical studies demonstrate that RPA efficiently melts an intermolecular DNA triple helix consisting of a pyrimidine motif third strand annealed to a 4 kb duplex DNA fragment at protein concentrations equimolar to the triplex substrate. Heterologous single-stranded DNA binding proteins ( Escherichia coli SSB, T4 gene 32) melt the triplex substrate very poorly or not at all, suggesting that the triplex destabilizing effect of RPA is specific. In contrast to the robust activity on DNA triplexes, RPA does not melt intermolecular G4 tetraplex structures. Cellular assays demonstrated increased triplex DNA content when RPA is transiently repressed, suggesting that RPA melting of triple helical structures is physiologically important. On the basis of our results, we suggest that the abundance of RPA known to exist in vivo is likely to be a strong deterrent to the stability of triplexes that can potentially form from human genomic DNA sequences.

Interstrand Cross-link Formation in Duplex and Triplex DNA by Modified Pyrimidines

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Aug, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18620398

DNA interstrand cross-links have important biological consequences and are useful biotechnology tools. Phenylselenyl substituted derivatives of thymidine (1) and 5-methyl-2'-deoxycytidine (5) produce interstrand cross-links in duplex DNA when oxidized by NaIO4. The mechanism involves a [2,3]-sigmatropic rearrangement of the respective selenoxides to the corresponding methide type intermediates, which ultimately produce the interstrand cross-links. Determination of the rate constants for the selenoxide rearrangements indicates that the rate-determining step for cross-linking is after methide formation. Cross-linking by the thymidine derivative in duplex DNA shows a modest kinetic preference when flanked by pyrimidines as opposed to purines. In contrast, the rate constant for cross-link formation from 5 opposite dG in duplex DNA is strongly dependent upon the flanking sequence and, in general, is at least an order of magnitude slower than that for 1 in an otherwise identical sequence. Introduction of mispairs at the base pairs flanking 5 or substitution of the opposing dG by dI significantly increases the rate constant and yield for cross-linking, indicating that stronger hydrogen bonding between the methide derived from it and dG compared to dA and the respective electrophile derived from 1 limits reaction by increasing the barrier to rotation into the required syn-conformation. Incorporation of 1 or 5 in triplex forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) that utilize Hoogsteen base pairing also yields interstrand cross-links. The dC derivative produces ICLs approximately 10x faster than the thymidine derivative when incorporated at the 5'-termini of the TFOs and higher yields when incorporated at internal sites. The slower, less efficient ICL formation emanating from 1 is attributed to reaction at N1-dA, which requires local melting of the duplex. In contrast, 5 produces cross-links by reacting with N7-dG. The cross-linking reactions of 1 and 5 illustrate the versatility and utility of these molecules as mechanistic probes and tools for biotechnology.

Correction of a Splice-site Mutation in the Beta-globin Gene Stimulated by Triplex-forming Peptide Nucleic Acids

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Sep, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18757759

Splice-site mutations in the beta-globin gene can lead to aberrant transcripts and decreased functional beta-globin, causing beta-thalassemia. Triplex-forming DNA oligonucleotides (TFOs) and peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) have been shown to stimulate recombination in reporter gene loci in mammalian cells via site-specific binding and creation of altered helical structures that provoke DNA repair. We have designed a series of triplex-forming PNAs that can specifically bind to sequences in the human beta-globin gene. We demonstrate here that these PNAs, when cotransfected with recombinatory donor DNA fragments, can promote single base-pair modification at the start of the second intron of the beta-globin gene, the site of a common thalassemia-associated mutation. This single base pair change was detected by the restoration of proper splicing of transcripts produced from a green fluorescent protein-beta-globin fusion gene. The ability of these PNAs to induce recombination was dependent on dose, sequence, cell-cycle stage, and the presence of a homologous donor DNA molecule. Enhanced recombination, with frequencies up to 0.4%, was observed with use of the lysomotropic agent chloroquine. Finally, we demonstrate that these PNAs were effective in stimulating the modification of the endogenous beta-globin locus in human cells, including primary hematopoietic progenitor cells. This work suggests that PNAs can be effective tools to induce heritable, site-specific modification of disease-related genes in human cells.

Selectivity and Affinity of DNA Triplex Forming Oligonucleotides Containing the Nucleoside Analogues 2'-O-methyl-5-(3-amino-1-propynyl)uridine and 2'-O-methyl-5-propynyluridine

Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry. Nov, 2008  |  Pubmed ID: 18972052

Triplex forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) containing the nucleoside analogues 2'-O-methyl-5-propynyluridine (1) and 2'-O-methyl-5-(3-amino-1-propynyl)uridine (2) were synthesized. The affinity and selectivity of triplex formation by these TFOs were studied by gel shift analysis, T(m) value measurement, and association rate assays. The results show that the introduction of 1 and 2 into TFOs can improve the stability of the triplexes under physiological conditions. Optimized distribution of 1 or 2 in the TFOs combined with a cluster of contiguous nucleosides with 2'-aminoethoxy sugars resulted in formation of triplexes with further enhanced stability and improved selectivity.

Repair of Laser-localized DNA Interstrand Cross-links in G1 Phase Mammalian Cells

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Oct, 2009  |  Pubmed ID: 19684342

Interstrand cross-links (ICLs) are absolute blocks to transcription and replication and can provoke genomic instability and cell death. Studies in bacteria define a two-stage repair scheme, the first involving recognition and incision on either side of the cross-link on one strand (unhooking), followed by recombinational repair or lesion bypass synthesis. The resultant monoadduct is removed in a second stage by nucleotide excision repair. In mammalian cells, there are multiple, but poorly defined, pathways, with much current attention on repair in S phase. However, many questions remain, including the efficiency of repair in the absence of replication, the factors involved in cross-link recognition, and the timing and demarcation of the first and second repair cycles. We have followed the repair of laser-localized lesions formed by psoralen (cross-links/monoadducts) and angelicin (only monoadducts) in mammalian cells. Both were repaired in G(1) phase by nucleotide excision repair-dependent pathways. Removal of psoralen adducts was blocked in XPC-deficient cells but occurred with wild type kinetics in cells deficient in DDB2 protein (XPE). XPC protein was rapidly recruited to psoralen adducts. However, accumulation of DDB2 was slow and XPC-dependent. Inhibition of repair DNA synthesis did not interfere with DDB2 recruitment to angelicin but eliminated recruitment to psoralen. Our results demonstrate an efficient ICL repair pathway in G(1) phase cells dependent on XPC, with entry of DDB2 only after repair synthesis that completes the first repair cycle. DDB2 accumulation at sites of cross-link repair is a marker for the start of the second repair cycle.

DNA Interstrand Crosslink Repair in Mammalian Cells: Step by Step

Critical Reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Feb, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20039786

Interstrand DNA crosslinks (ICLs) are formed by natural products of metabolism and by chemotherapeutic reagents. Work in E. coli identified a two cycle repair scheme involving incisions on one strand on either side of the ICL (unhooking) producing a gapped intermediate with the incised oligonucleotide attached to the intact strand. The gap is filled by recombinational repair or lesion bypass synthesis. The remaining monoadduct is then removed by nucleotide excision repair (NER). Despite considerable effort, our understanding of each step in mammalian cells is still quite limited. In part this reflects the variety of crosslinking compounds, each with distinct structural features, used by different investigators. Also, multiple repair pathways are involved, variably operative during the cell cycle. G(1) phase repair requires functions from NER, although the mechanism of recognition has not been determined. Repair can be initiated by encounters with the transcriptional apparatus, or a replication fork. In the case of the latter, the reconstruction of a replication fork, stalled or broken by collision with an ICL, adds to the complexity of the repair process. The enzymology of unhooking, the identity of the lesion bypass polymerases required to fill the first repair gap, and the functions involved in the second repair cycle are all subjects of active inquiry. Here we will review current understanding of each step in ICL repair in mammalian cells.

A Novel Link to Base Excision Repair?

Trends in Biochemical Sciences. May, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20172733

DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) can arise from reactions with endogenous chemicals, such as malondialdehyde - a lipid peroxidation product - or from exposure to various clinical anti-cancer drugs, most notably bifunctional alkylators and platinum compounds. Because they covalently link the two strands of DNA, ICLs completely block transcription and replication, and, as a result, are lethal to the cell. It is well established that proteins that function in nucleotide excision repair and homologous recombination are involved in ICL resolution. Recent work, coupled with a much earlier report, now suggest an emerging link between proteins of the base excision repair pathway and crosslink processing.

A Histone-fold Complex and FANCM Form a Conserved DNA-remodeling Complex to Maintain Genome Stability

Molecular Cell. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20347428

FANCM remodels branched DNA structures and plays essential roles in the cellular response to DNA replication stress. Here, we show that FANCM forms a conserved DNA-remodeling complex with a histone-fold heterodimer, MHF. We find that MHF stimulates DNA binding and replication fork remodeling by FANCM. In the cell, FANCM and MHF are rapidly recruited to forks stalled by DNA interstrand crosslinks, and both are required for cellular resistance to such lesions. In vertebrates, FANCM-MHF associates with the Fanconi anemia (FA) core complex, promotes FANCD2 monoubiquitination in response to DNA damage, and suppresses sister-chromatid exchanges. Yeast orthologs of these proteins function together to resist MMS-induced DNA damage and promote gene conversion at blocked replication forks. Thus, FANCM-MHF is an essential DNA-remodeling complex that protects replication forks from yeast to human.

Sequence Conversion by Single Strand Oligonucleotide Donors Via Non-homologous End Joining in Mammalian Cells

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. Jul, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20489199

Double strand breaks (DSBs) can be repaired by homology independent nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathways involving proteins such as Ku70/80, DNAPKcs, Xrcc4/Ligase 4, and the Mre11/Rad50/Nbs1 (MRN) complex. DSBs can also be repaired by homology-dependent pathways (HDR), in which the MRN and CtIP nucleases produce single strand ends that engage homologous sequences either by strand invasion or strand annealing. The entry of ends into HDR pathways underlies protocols for genomic manipulation that combine site-specific DSBs with appropriate informational donors. Most strategies utilize long duplex donors that participate by strand invasion. Work in yeast indicates that single strand oligonucleotide (SSO) donors are also active, over considerable distance, via a single strand annealing pathway. We examined the activity of SSO donors in mammalian cells at DSBs induced either by a restriction nuclease or by a targeted interstrand cross-link. SSO donors were effective immediately adjacent to the break, but activity declined sharply beyond approximately 100 nucleotides. Overexpression of the resection nuclease CtIP increased the frequency of SSO-mediated sequence modulation distal to the break site, but had no effect on the activity of an SSO donor adjacent to the break. Genetic and in vivo competition experiments showed that sequence conversion by SSOs in the immediate vicinity of the break was not by strand invasion or strand annealing pathways. Instead these donors competed for ends that would have otherwise entered NHEJ pathways.

A Ubiquitin-binding Protein, FAAP20, Links RNF8-mediated Ubiquitination to the Fanconi Anemia DNA Repair Network

Molecular Cell. Jul, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22705371

The Fanconi anemia (FA) protein network is necessary for repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs), but its control mechanism remains unclear. Here we show that the network is regulated by a ubiquitin signaling cascade initiated by RNF8 and its partner, UBC13, and mediated by FAAP20, a component of the FA core complex. FAAP20 preferentially binds the ubiquitin product of RNF8-UBC13, and this ubiquitin-binding activity and RNF8-UBC13 are both required for recruitment of FAAP20 to ICLs. Both RNF8 and FAAP20 are required for recruitment of FA core complex and FANCD2 to ICLs, whereas RNF168 can modulate efficiency of the recruitment. RNF8 and FAAP20 are needed for efficient FANCD2 monoubiquitination, a key step of the FA network; RNF8 and the FA core complex work in the same pathway to promote cellular resistance to ICLs. Thus, the RNF8-FAAP20 ubiquitin cascade is critical for recruiting FA core complex to ICLs and for normal function of the FA network.

Age-related Disease Association of Endogenous γ-H2AX Foci in Mononuclear Cells Derived from Leukapheresis

PloS One. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23029205

The phosphorylated form of histone H2AX (γ-H2AX) forms immunohistochemically detectable foci at DNA double strand breaks. In peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) derived from leukapheresis from patients enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging, γ-H2AX foci increased in a linear fashion with regards to age, peaking at ~57 years. The relationship between the frequency of γ-H2AX foci and age-related pathologies was assessed. We found a statistically significant (p = 0.023) 50% increase in foci in PBMCs derived from patients with a known history of vitamin D deficiency. In addition, there were trends toward increased γ-H2AX foci in patients with cataracts (34% increase, p<0.10) and in sleep apnea patients (44%, p<0.10). Among patients ≥57 y/o, we found a significant (p = 0.037) 36% increase in the number of γ-H2AX foci/cell for patients with hypertension compared to non-hypertensive patients. Our results support a role for increased DNA damage in the morbidity of age-related diseases. γ -H2AX may be a biomarker for human morbidity in age-related diseases.

NEIL1 Responds and Binds to Psoralen-induced DNA Interstrand Crosslinks

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. May, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23508956

Recent evidence suggests a role for base excision repair (BER) proteins in the response to DNA interstrand crosslinks, which block replication and transcription, and lead to cell death and genetic instability. Employing fluorescently tagged fusion proteins and laser microirradiation coupled with confocal microscopy, we observed that the endonuclease VIII-like DNA glycosylase, NEIL1, accumulates at sites of oxidative DNA damage, as well as trioxsalen (psoralen)-induced DNA interstrand crosslinks, but not to angelicin monoadducts. While recruitment to the oxidative DNA lesions was abrogated by the anti-oxidant N-acetylcysteine, this treatment did not alter the accumulation of NEIL1 at sites of interstrand crosslinks, suggesting distinct recognition mechanisms. Consistent with this conclusion, recruitment of the NEIL1 population variants, G83D, C136R, and E181K, to oxidative DNA damage and psoralen-induced interstrand crosslinks was differentially affected by the mutation. NEIL1 recruitment to psoralen crosslinks was independent of the nucleotide excision repair recognition factor, XPC. Knockdown of NEIL1 in LN428 glioblastoma cells resulted in enhanced recruitment of XPC, a more rapid removal of digoxigenin-tagged psoralen adducts, and decreased cellular sensitivity to trioxsalen plus UVA, implying that NEIL1 and BER may interfere with normal cellular processing of interstrand crosslinks. While exhibiting no enzymatic activity, purified NEIL1 protein bound stably to psoralen interstrand crosslink-containing synthetic oligonucleotide substrates in vitro. Our results indicate that NEIL1 recognizes specifically and distinctly interstrand crosslinks in DNA, and can obstruct the efficient removal of lethal crosslink adducts.

Fanconi Anemia Group J Helicase and MRE11 Nuclease Interact to Facilitate the DNA Damage Response

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Jun, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23530059

FANCJ mutations are linked to Fanconi anemia (FA) and increase breast cancer risk. FANCJ encodes a DNA helicase implicated in homologous recombination (HR) repair of double-strand breaks (DSBs) and interstrand cross-links (ICLs), but its mechanism of action is not well understood. Here we show with live-cell imaging that FANCJ recruitment to laser-induced DSBs but not psoralen-induced ICLs is dependent on nuclease-active MRE11. FANCJ interacts directly with MRE11 and inhibits its exonuclease activity in a specific manner, suggesting that FANCJ regulates the MRE11 nuclease to facilitate DSB processing and appropriate end resection. Cells deficient in FANCJ and MRE11 show increased ionizing radiation (IR) resistance, reduced numbers of γH2AX and RAD51 foci, and elevated numbers of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit foci, suggesting that HR is compromised and the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway is elicited to help cells cope with IR-induced strand breaks. Interplay between FANCJ and MRE11 ensures a normal response to IR-induced DSBs, whereas FANCJ involvement in ICL repair is regulated by MLH1 and the FA pathway. Our findings are discussed in light of the current model for HR repair.

ATR-dependent Phosphorylation of FANCM at Serine 1045 is Essential for FANCM Functions

Cancer Research. Jul, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23698467

Fanconi anemia (FA) is a genome instability syndrome that has been associated with both cancer predisposition and bone marrow failure. FA proteins are involved in cellular response to replication stress in which they coordinate DNA repair with DNA replication and cell-cycle progression. One regulator of the replication stress response is the ATP-dependent DNA translocase FANCM, which we have shown to be hyperphosphorylated in response to various genotoxic agents. However, the significance of this phosphorylation remained unclear. Here, we show that genotoxic stress-induced FANCM phosphorylation is ATR-dependent and that this modification is highly significant for the cellular response to replication stress. We identified serine (S1045) residue of FANCM that is phosphorylated in response to genotoxic stress and this effect is ATR-dependent. We show that S1045 is required for FANCM functions including its role in FA pathway integrity, recruiting FANCM to the site of interstrand cross links, preventing the cells from entering mitosis prematurely, and efficient activation of the CHK1 and G2-M checkpoints. Overall, our data suggest that an ATR-FANCM feedback loop is present in the FA and replication stress response pathways and that it is required for both efficient ATR/CHK1 checkpoint activation and FANCM function.

The RecQ Helicase RECQL5 Participates in Psoralen-induced Interstrand Cross-link Repair

Carcinogenesis. Oct, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23715498

Interstrand cross-links (ICLs) are very severe lesions as they are absolute blocks of replication and transcription. This property of interstrand cross-linking agents has been exploited clinically for the treatment of cancers and other diseases. ICLs are repaired in human cells by specialized DNA repair pathways including components of the nucleotide excision repair pathway, double-strand break repair pathway and the Fanconi anemia pathway. In this report, we identify the role of RECQL5, a member of the RecQ family of helicases, in the repair of ICLs. Using laser-directed confocal microscopy, we demonstrate that RECQL5 is recruited to ICLs formed by trioxalen (a psoralen-derived compound) and ultraviolet irradiation A. Using single-cell gel electrophoresis and proliferation assays, we identify the role of RECQL5 in the repair of ICL lesions. The domain of RECQL5 that recruits to the site of ICL was mapped to the KIX region between amino acids 500 and 650. Inhibition of transcription and of topoisomerases did not affect recruitment, which was inhibited by DNA-intercalating agents, suggesting that the DNA structure itself may be responsible for the recruitment of RECQL5 to the sites of ICLs.

The DNA Translocase FANCM/MHF Promotes Replication Traverse of DNA Interstrand Crosslinks

Molecular Cell. Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24207054

The replicative machinery encounters many impediments, some of which can be overcome by lesion bypass or replication restart pathways, leaving repair for a later time. However, interstrand crosslinks (ICLs), which preclude DNA unwinding, are considered absolute blocks to replication. Current models suggest that fork collisions, either from one or both sides of an ICL, initiate repair processes required for resumption of replication. To test these proposals, we developed a single-molecule technique for visualizing encounters of replication forks with ICLs as they occur in living cells. Surprisingly, the most frequent patterns were consistent with replication traverse of an ICL, without lesion repair. The traverse frequency was strongly reduced by inactivation of the translocase and DNA binding activities of the FANCM/MHF complex. The results indicate that translocase-based mechanisms enable DNA synthesis to continue past ICLs and that these lesions are not always absolute blocks to replication.

Preparation and Application of Triple Helix Forming Oligonucleotides and Single Strand Oligonucleotide Donors for Gene Correction

Methods in Molecular Biology (Clifton, N.J.). 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24557899

Strategies for site-specific modulation of genomic sequences in mammalian cells require two components. One must be capable of recognizing and activating a specific target sequence in vivo, driving that site into an exploitable repair pathway. Information is transferred to the site via participation in the pathway by the second component, a donor nucleic acid, resulting in a permanent change in the target sequence. We have developed biologically active triple helix forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) as site-specific gene targeting reagents. These TFOs, linked to DNA reactive compounds (such as a cross-linking agent), activate pathways that can engage informational donors. We have used the combination of a psoralen-TFO and single strand oligonucleotide donors to generate novel cell lines with directed sequence changes at the target site. Here we describe the synthesis and purification of bioactive psoralen-linked TFOs, their co-introduction into mammalian cells with donor nucleic acids, and the identification of cells with sequence conversion of the target site. We have emphasized details in the synthesis and purification of the oligonucleotides that are essential for preparation of reagents with optimal activity.

Arsenite Binds to the RING Finger Domains of RNF20-RNF40 Histone E3 Ubiquitin Ligase and Inhibits DNA Double-strand Break Repair

Journal of the American Chemical Society. Sep, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25170678

Arsenic is a widespread environmental contaminant. However, the exact molecular mechanisms underlying the carcinogenic effects of arsenic remain incompletely understood. Core histones can be ubiquitinated by RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligases, among which the RNF20-RNF40 heterodimer catalyzes the ubiquitination of histone H2B at lysine 120. This ubiquitination event is important for the formation of open and biochemically accessible chromatin fiber that is conducive for DNA repair. Herein, we found that arsenite could bind directly to the RING finger domains of RNF20 and RNF40 in vitro and in cells, and treatment with arsenite resulted in substantially impaired H2B ubiquitination in multiple cell lines. Exposure to arsenite also diminished the recruitment of BRCA1 and RAD51 to laser-induced DNA double-strand break (DSB) sites, compromised DNA DSB repair in human cells, and rendered cells sensitive toward a radiomimetic agent, neocarzinostatin. Together, the results from the present study revealed, for the first time, that arsenite may exert its carcinogenic effect by targeting cysteine residues in the RING finger domains of histone E3 ubiquitin ligase, thereby altering histone epigenetic mark and compromising DNA DSB repair. Our results also suggest arsenite as a general inhibitor for RING finger E3 ubiquitin ligases.

CSB Interacts with SNM1A and Promotes DNA Interstrand Crosslink Processing

Nucleic Acids Research. Jan, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25505141

Cockayne syndrome (CS) is a premature aging disorder characterized by photosensitivity, impaired development and multisystem progressive degeneration, and consists of two strict complementation groups, A and B. Using a yeast two-hybrid approach, we identified the 5'-3' exonuclease SNM1A as one of four strong interacting partners of CSB. This direct interaction was confirmed using purified recombinant proteins-with CSB able to modulate the exonuclease activity of SNM1A on oligonucleotide substrates in vitro-and the two proteins were shown to exist in a common complex in human cell extracts. CSB and SNM1A were also found, using fluorescently tagged proteins in combination with confocal microscopy and laser microirradiation, to be recruited to localized trioxsalen-induced ICL damage in human cells, with accumulation being suppressed by transcription inhibition. Moreover, SNM1A recruitment was significantly reduced in CSB-deficient cells, suggesting coordination between the two proteins in vivo. CSB-deficient neural cells exhibited increased sensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents, particularly, in a non-cycling, differentiated state, as well as delayed ICL processing as revealed by a modified Comet assay and γ-H2AX foci persistence. The results indicate that CSB coordinates the resolution of ICLs, possibly in a transcription-associated repair mechanism involving SNM1A, and that defects in the process could contribute to the post-mitotic degenerative pathologies associated with CS.

UHRF1 Contributes to DNA Damage Repair As a Lesion Recognition Factor and Nuclease Scaffold

Cell Reports. Mar, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25818288

We identified ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domain 1 (UHRF1) as a binding factor for DNA interstrand crosslink (ICL) lesions through affinity purification of ICL-recognition activities. UHRF1 is recruited to DNA lesions in vivo and binds directly to ICL-containing DNA. UHRF1-deficient cells display increased sensitivity to a variety of DNA damages. We found that loss of UHRF1 led to retarded lesion processing and reduced recruitment of ICL repair nucleases to the site of DNA damage. UHRF1 interacts physically with both ERCC1 and MUS81, two nucleases involved in the repair of ICL lesions. Depletion of both UHRF1 and components of the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway resulted in increased DNA damage sensitivity compared to defect of each mechanism alone. These results suggest that UHRF1 promotes recruitment of lesion-processing activities via its affinity to recognize DNA damage and functions as a nuclease recruitment scaffold in parallel to the FA pathway.

MERIT40 Cooperates with BRCA2 to Resolve DNA Interstrand Cross-links

Genes & Development. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26338419

MERIT40 is an essential component of the RAP80 ubiquitin recognition complex that targets BRCA1 to DNA damage sites. Although this complex is required for BRCA1 foci formation, its physiologic role in DNA repair has remained enigmatic, as has its relationship to canonical DNA repair mechanisms. Surprisingly, we found that Merit40(-/-) mice displayed marked hypersensitivity to DNA interstrand cross-links (ICLs) but not whole-body irradiation. MERIT40 was rapidly recruited to ICL lesions prior to FANCD2, and Merit40-null cells exhibited delayed ICL unhooking coupled with reduced end resection and homologous recombination at ICL damage. Interestingly, Merit40 mutation exacerbated ICL-induced chromosome instability in the context of concomitant Brca2 deficiency but not in conjunction with Fancd2 mutation. These findings implicate MERIT40 in the earliest stages of ICL repair and define specific functional interactions between RAP80 complex-dependent ubiquitin recognition and the Fanconi anemia (FA)-BRCA ICL repair network.

Catalytic Strand Separation by RECQ1 is Required for RPA-mediated Response to Replication Stress

Current Biology : CB. Nov, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26455304

Three (BLM, WRN, and RECQ4) of the five human RecQ helicases are linked to genetic disorders characterized by genomic instability, cancer, and accelerated aging [1]. RECQ1, the first human RecQ helicase discovered [2-4] and the most abundant [5], was recently implicated in breast cancer [6, 7]. RECQ1 is an ATP-dependent DNA-unwinding enzyme (helicase) [8, 9] with roles in replication [10-12] and DNA repair [13-16]. RECQ1 is highly expressed in various tumors and cancer cell lines (for review, see [17]), and its suppression reduces cancer cell proliferation [14], suggesting a target for anti-cancer drugs. RECQ1's assembly state plays a critical role in modulating its helicase, branch migration (BM), or strand annealing [18, 19]. The crystal structure of truncated RECQ1 [20, 21] resembles that of E. coli RecQ [22] with two RecA-like domains, a RecQ-specific zinc-binding domain and a winged-helix domain, the latter implicated in DNA strand separation and oligomer formation. In addition, a conserved aromatic loop (AL) is important for DNA unwinding by bacterial RecQ [23, 24] and truncated RECQ1 helicases [21]. To better understand the roles of RECQ1, two AL mutants (W227A and F231A) in full-length RECQ1 were characterized biochemically and genetically. The RECQ1 mutants were defective in helicase or BM but retained DNA binding, oligomerization, ATPase, and strand annealing. RECQ1-depleted HeLa cells expressing either AL mutant displayed reduced replication tract length, elevated dormant origin firing, and increased double-strand breaks that could be suppressed by exogenously expressed replication protein A (RPA). Thus, RECQ1 governs RPA's availability in order to maintain normal replication dynamics, suppress DNA damage, and preserve genome homeostasis.

Fan1 Deficiency Results in DNA Interstrand Cross-link Repair Defects, Enhanced Tissue Karyomegaly, and Organ Dysfunction

Genes & Development. Mar, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26980189

Deficiency of FANCD2/FANCI-associated nuclease 1 (FAN1) in humans leads to karyomegalic interstitial nephritis (KIN), a rare hereditary kidney disease characterized by chronic renal fibrosis, tubular degeneration, and characteristic polyploid nuclei in multiple tissues. The mechanism of how FAN1 protects cells is largely unknown but is thought to involve FAN1's function in DNA interstrand cross-link (ICL) repair. Here, we describe a Fan1-deficient mouse and show that FAN1 is required for cellular and organismal resistance to ICLs. We show that the ubiquitin-binding zinc finger (UBZ) domain of FAN1, which is needed for interaction with FANCD2, is not required for the initial rapid recruitment of FAN1 to ICLs or for its role in DNA ICL resistance. Epistasis analyses reveal that FAN1 has cross-link repair activities that are independent of the Fanconi anemia proteins and that this activity is redundant with the 5'-3' exonuclease SNM1A. Karyomegaly becomes prominent in kidneys and livers of Fan1-deficient mice with age, and mice develop liver dysfunction. Treatment of Fan1-deficient mice with ICL-inducing agents results in pronounced thymic and bone marrow hypocellularity and the disappearance of c-kit(+) cells. Our results provide insight into the mechanism of FAN1 in ICL repair and demonstrate that the Fan1 mouse model effectively recapitulates the pathological features of human FAN1 deficiency.

Single Molecule Analysis of Laser Localized Interstrand Crosslinks

Frontiers in Genetics. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27242893

DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) block unwinding of the double helix, and have always been regarded as major challenges to replication and transcription. Compounds that form these lesions are very toxic and are frequently used in cancer chemotherapy. We have developed two strategies, both based on immunofluorescence (IF), for studying cellular responses to ICLs. The basis of each is psoralen, a photoactive (by long wave ultraviolet light, UVA) DNA crosslinking agent, to which we have linked an antigen tag. In the one approach, we have taken advantage of DNA fiber and immuno-quantum dot technologies for visualizing the encounter of replication forks with ICLs induced by exposure to UVA lamps. In the other, psoralen ICLs are introduced into nuclei in live cells in regions of interest defined by a UVA laser. The antigen tag can be displayed by conventional IF, as can the recruitment and accumulation of DNA damage response proteins to the laser localized ICLs. However, substantial difference between the technologies creates considerable uncertainty as to whether conclusions from one approach are applicable to those of the other. In this report, we have employed the fiber/quantum dot methodology to determine lesion density and spacing on individual DNA molecules carrying laser localized ICLs. We have performed the same measurements on DNA fibers with ICLs induced by exposure of psoralen to UVA lamps. Remarkably, we find little difference in the adduct distribution on fibers prepared from cells exposed to the different treatment protocols. Furthermore, there is considerable similarity in patterns of replication in the vicinity of the ICLs introduced by the two techniques.

Enhancing the Cytotoxic Effects of PARP Inhibitors with DNA Demethylating Agents - A Potential Therapy for Cancer

Cancer Cell. Oct, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27728808

Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPis) are clinically effective predominantly for BRCA-mutant tumors. We introduce a mechanism-based strategy to enhance PARPi efficacy based on DNA damage-related binding between DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and PARP1. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and breast cancer cells, DNMT inhibitors (DNMTis) alone covalently bind DNMTs into DNA and increase PARP1 tightly bound into chromatin. Low doses of DNMTis plus PARPis, versus each drug alone, increase PARPi efficacy, increasing amplitude and retention of PARP1 directly at laser-induced DNA damage sites. This correlates with increased DNA damage, synergistic tumor cytotoxicity, blunting of self-renewal, and strong anti-tumor responses, in vivo in unfavorable AML subtypes and BRCA wild-type breast cancer cells. Our combinatorial approach introduces a strategy to enhance efficacy of PARPis in treating cancer.

Fanconi Anemia: A DNA Repair Disorder Characterized by Accelerated Decline of the Hematopoietic Stem Cell Compartment and Other Features of Aging

Ageing Research Reviews. Jan, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 27223997

Fanconi Anemia (FA) is a rare autosomal genetic disorder characterized by progressive bone marrow failure (BMF), endocrine dysfunction, cancer, and other clinical features commonly associated with normal aging. The anemia stems directly from an accelerated decline of the hematopoietic stem cell compartment. Although FA is a complex heterogeneous disease linked to mutations in 19 currently identified genes, there has been much progress in understanding the molecular pathology involved. FA is broadly considered a DNA repair disorder and the FA gene products, together with other DNA repair factors, have been implicated in interstrand cross-link (ICL) repair. However, in addition to the defective DNA damage response, altered epigenetic regulation, and telomere defects, FA is also marked by elevated levels of inflammatory mediators in circulation, a hallmark of faster decline in not only other hereditary aging disorders but also normal aging. In this review, we offer a perspective of FA as a monogenic accelerated aging disorder, citing the latest evidence for its multi-factorial deficiencies underlying its unique clinical and cellular features.

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