Analysis of DNA double-strand break response and chromatin structure in mitosis using laser microirradiation

Veronica Gomez-Godinez, Tao Wu, Adria J. Sherman, Christopher S. Lee, Lih Huei Liaw, You Zhongsheng, Kyoko Yokomori, Michael W. Berns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In this study the femtosecond near-IR and nanosecond green lasers are used to induce alterations in mitotic chromosomes. The subsequent double-strand break responses are studied. We show that both lasers are capable of creating comparable chromosomal alterations and that a phase paling observed within 1-2s of laser exposure is associated with an alteration of chromatin as confirmed by serial section electron microscopy, DAPI, γH2AX and phospho-H3 staining. Additionally, the accumulation of dark material observed using phase contrast light microscopy (indicative of a change in refractive index of the chromatin) ∼34s post-laser exposure corresponds spatially to the accumulation of Nbs1, Ku and ubiquitin. This study demonstrates that chromosomes selectively altered in mitosis initiate the DNA damage response within 30s and that the accumulation of proteins are visually represented by phase-dark material at the irradiation site, allowing us to determine the fate of the damage as cells enter G1. These results occur with two widely different laser systems, making this approach to study DNA damage responses in the mitotic phase generally available to many different labs. Additionally, we present a summary of most of the published laser studies on chromosomes in order to provide a general guide of the lasers and operating parameters used by other laboratories.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e202
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number22
StatePublished - Dec 2010


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