Caged single and double strand breaks

Phillip Ordoukhanian, John Stephen Taylor

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29 Scopus citations


Ionizing radiation and radiomimetic drugs such as bleomycin, calichieamycin, neocarzinostatin chromophore, and other synthetic agents can produce both single and double strand breaks in DNA. The ability to study the structure-activity relationships of single and double-strand break repair, lethality, and mutagenesis in vivo is complicated by the numerous types and sites of DNA cleavage products that can be induced by such agents. The ability to 'cage' such breaks in DNA might help to further such studies and additionally afford a mechanism for activating and deactivating nucleic acid based drugs and probes. The major type of single strand break induced by ionizing radiation is a 3'- and 5'-phosphate terminated single nucleotide gap. Previously, a caged strand break of this type had been developed that was designed to produce the 5'-phosphate directly upon irradiation with 366 nm light, and the 3'-phosphate by a subsequent β-elimination reaction [Ordoukhanian, P., and Taylor, J.-S. (1995) J. Am. Chem. Soc. 117, 9570]. Unfortunately, the release of the 3'-phosphate group was quite slow at pH 7. To circumvent this problem, a second caged strand break has been developed that produces the 3'-phosphate directly upon irradiation, and the 5'-phosphate by a subsequent β-elimination reaction. When this caged strand break was used in tandem with the previous caged strand break, 5'- and 3'-phosphate terminated gaps could be directly produced by irradiation with 366 nm light. These caged single strand breaks were also incorporated in tandem into hairpin substrates to demonstrate that they could be used to cage double strand breaks. These caged single strand breaks should be generally useful for generating site-specific DNA single and double strand breaks and gaps, using wavelengths and doses of light that are nondetrimental to biological systems. Because the position of the single strand break can be varied, it should now be possible to examine the effect of the sequence context and cleavage pattern of single and double strand breaks on the lethality and mutagenicity of this important class of DNA damage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-103
Number of pages10
JournalBioconjugate Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2000


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