Single cell trapping and DNA damage analysis using microwell arrays.
ABSTRACT: With a direct link to cancer, aging, and heritable diseases as well as a critical role in cancer treatment, the importance of DNA damage is well-established. The intense interest in DNA damage in applications ranging from epidemiology to drug development drives an urgent need for robust, high throughput, and inexpensive tools for objective, quantitative DNA damage analysis. We have developed a simple method for high throughput DNA damage measurements that provides information on multiple lesions and pathways. Our method utilizes single cells captured by gravity into a microwell array with DNA damage revealed morphologically by gel electrophoresis. Spatial encoding enables simultaneous assays of multiple experimental conditions performed in parallel with fully automated analysis. This method also enables novel functionalities, including multiplexed labeling for parallel single cell assays, as well as DNA damage measurement in cell aggregates. We have also developed 24- and 96-well versions, which are applicable to high throughput screening. Using this platform, we have quantified DNA repair capacities of individuals with different genetic backgrounds, and compared the efficacy of potential cancer chemotherapeutics as inhibitors of a critical DNA repair enzyme, human AP endonuclease. This platform enables high throughput assessment of multiple DNA repair pathways and subpathways in parallel, thus enabling new strategies for drug discovery, genotoxicity testing, and environmental health.
Project description:A key modality of non-surgical cancer management is DNA damaging therapy that causes DNA double-strand breaks that are preferentially toxic to rapidly dividing cancer cells. Double-strand break repair capacity is recognized as an important mechanism in drug resistance and is therefore a potential target for adjuvant chemotherapy. Additionally, spontaneous and environmentally induced DSBs are known to promote cancer, making DSB evaluation important as a tool in epidemiology, clinical evaluation and in the development of novel pharmaceuticals. Currently available assays to detect double-strand breaks are limited in throughput and specificity and offer minimal information concerning the kinetics of repair. Here, we present the CometChip, a 96-well platform that enables assessment of double-strand break levels and repair capacity of multiple cell types and conditions in parallel and integrates with standard high-throughput screening and analysis technologies. We demonstrate the ability to detect multiple genetic deficiencies in double-strand break repair and evaluate a set of clinically relevant chemical inhibitors of one of the major double-strand break repair pathways, non-homologous end-joining. While other high-throughput repair assays measure residual damage or indirect markers of damage, the CometChip detects physical double-strand breaks, providing direct measurement of damage induction and repair capacity, which may be useful in developing and implementing treatment strategies with reduced side effects.
Project description:Ionizing radiation (IR) is environmentally prevalent and, depending on dose and linear energy transfer (LET), can elicit serious health effects by damaging DNA. Relative to low LET photon radiation (X-rays, gamma rays), higher LET particle radiation produces more disease causing, complex DNA damage that is substantially more challenging to resolve quickly or accurately. Despite the majority of human lifetime IR exposure involving long-term, repetitive, low doses of high LET alpha particles (e.g. radon gas inhalation), technological limitations to deliver alpha particles in the laboratory conveniently, repeatedly, over a prolonged period, in low doses and in an affordable, high-throughput manner have constrained DNA damage and repair research on this topic. To resolve this, we developed an inexpensive, high capacity, 96-well plate-compatible alpha particle irradiator capable of delivering adjustable, low mGy/s particle radiation doses in multiple model systems and on the benchtop of a standard laboratory. The system enables monitoring alpha particle effects on DNA damage repair and signalling, genome stability pathways, oxidative stress, cell cycle phase distribution, cell viability and clonogenic survival using numerous microscopy-based and physical techniques. Most importantly, this method is foundational for high-throughput genetic screening and small molecule testing in mammalian and yeast cells.
Project description:Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER), which removes a variety of helix-distorting lesions from DNA, is initiated by two distinct DNA damage-sensing mechanisms. Transcription Coupled Repair (TCR) removes damage from the active strand of transcribed genes and depends on the SWI/SNF family protein CSB. Global Genome Repair (GGR) removes damage present elsewhere in the genome and depends on damage recognition by the XPC/RAD23/Centrin2 complex. Currently, it is not well understood to what extent both pathways contribute to genome maintenance and cell survival in a developing organism exposed to UV light. Here, we show that eukaryotic NER, initiated by two distinct subpathways, is well conserved in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. In C. elegans, involvement of TCR and GGR in the UV-induced DNA damage response changes during development. In germ cells and early embryos, we find that GGR is the major pathway contributing to normal development and survival after UV irradiation, whereas in later developmental stages TCR is predominantly engaged. Furthermore, we identify four ISWI/Cohesin and four SWI/SNF family chromatin remodeling factors that are implicated in the UV damage response in a developmental stage dependent manner. These in vivo studies strongly suggest that involvement of different repair pathways and chromatin remodeling proteins in UV-induced DNA repair depends on developmental stage of cells.
Project description:DNA damage is tightly associated with various biological and pathological processes, such as aging and tumorigenesis. Although detection of DNA damage is attracting increasing attention, only a limited number of methods are available to quantify DNA lesions, and these techniques are tedious or only detect global DNA damage. In this study, we present a high-sensitivity long-run real-time PCR technique for DNA-damage quantification (LORD-Q) in both the mitochondrial and nuclear genome. While most conventional methods are of low-sensitivity or restricted to abundant mitochondrial DNA samples, we established a protocol that enables the accurate sequence-specific quantification of DNA damage in >3-kb probes for any mitochondrial or nuclear DNA sequence. In order to validate the sensitivity of this method, we compared LORD-Q with a previously published qPCR-based method and the standard single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, demonstrating a superior performance of LORD-Q. Exemplarily, we monitored induction of DNA damage and repair processes in human induced pluripotent stem cells and isogenic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that LORD-Q provides a sequence-specific and precise method to quantify DNA damage, thereby allowing the high-throughput assessment of DNA repair, genotoxicity screening and various other processes for a wide range of life science applications.
Project description:Methods for quantifying DNA damage, as well as repair of that damage, in a high-throughput format are lacking. Single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE; comet assay) is a widely-used method due to its technical simplicity and sensitivity, but the standard comet assay has limitations in reproducibility and throughput. We have advanced the SCGE assay by creating a 96-well hardware platform coupled with dedicated data processing software (CometChip Platform). Based on the original cometchip approach, the CometChip Platform increases capacity ~200 times over the traditional slide-based SCGE protocol, with excellent reproducibility. We tested this platform in several applications, demonstrating a broad range of potential uses including the routine identification of DNA damaging agents, using a 74-compound library provided by the National Toxicology Program. Additionally, we demonstrated how this tool can be used to evaluate human populations by analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells to characterize susceptibility to genotoxic exposures, with implications for epidemiological studies. In summary, we demonstrated a high level of reproducibility and quantitative capacity for the CometChip Platform, making it suitable for high-throughput screening to identify and characterize genotoxic agents in large compound libraries, as well as for human epidemiological studies of genetic diversity relating to DNA damage and repair.
Project description:A high throughput electrochemiluminescent (ECL) chip was fabricated and integrated into a fluidic system for screening toxicity-related chemistry of drug and pollutant metabolites. The chip base is conductive pyrolytic graphite onto which are printed 64 microwells capable of holding one-?L droplets. Films combining DNA, metabolic enzymes and an ECL-generating ruthenium metallopolymer (Ru(II)PVP) are fabricated in these microwells. The system runs metabolic enzyme reactions, and subsequently detects DNA damage caused by reactive metabolites. The performance of the chip was tested by measuring DNA damage caused by metabolites of the well-known procarcinogen benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P). Liver microsomes and cytochrome P450 (cyt P450) enzymes were used with and without epoxide hydrolase (EH), a conjugative enzyme required for multi-enzyme bioactivation of B[a]P. DNA adduct formation was confirmed by determining specific DNA-metabolite adducts using similar films of DNA/enzyme on magnetic bead biocolloid reactors, hydrolyzing the DNA, and analyzing by capillary liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (CapLC-MS/MS). The fluidic chip was also used to measure IC50-values of inhibitors of cyt P450s. All results show good correlation with reported enzyme activity and inhibition assays.
Project description:Relocalization of proteins is a hallmark of the DNA damage response. We use high-throughput microscopic screening of the yeast GFP fusion collection to develop a systems-level view of protein reorganization following drug-induced DNA replication stress. Changes in protein localization and abundance reveal drug-specific patterns of functional enrichments. Classification of proteins by subcellular destination enables the identification of pathways that respond to replication stress. We analysed pairwise combinations of GFP fusions and gene deletion mutants to define and order two previously unknown DNA damage responses. In the first, Cmr1 forms subnuclear foci that are regulated by the histone deacetylase Hos2 and are distinct from the typical Rad52 repair foci. In a second example, we find that the checkpoint kinases Mec1/Tel1 and the translation regulator Asc1 regulate P-body formation. This method identifies response pathways that were not detected in genetic and protein interaction screens, and can be readily applied to any form of chemical or genetic stress to reveal cellular response pathways.
Project description:Cells expend a large amount of energy to maintain their DNA sequence. DNA repair pathways, cell cycle checkpoint activation, proofreading polymerases, and chromatin structure are ways in which the cell minimizes changes to the genome. During replication, the DNA-damage tolerance pathway allows the replication forks to bypass damage on the template strand. This avoids prolonged replication fork stalling, which can contribute to genome instability. The DNA-damage tolerance pathway includes two subpathways: translesion synthesis and template switch. Post-translational modification of PCNA and the histone tails, cell cycle phase, and local DNA structure have all been shown to influence subpathway choice. Chromatin architecture contributes to maintaining genome stability by providing physical protection of the DNA and by regulating DNA-processing pathways. As such, chromatin-binding factors have been implicated in maintaining genome stability. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we examined the role of Spn1 (Suppresses postrecruitment gene number 1), a chromatin-binding and transcription elongation factor, in DNA-damage tolerance. Expression of a mutant allele of SPN1 results in increased resistance to the DNA-damaging agent methyl methanesulfonate, lower spontaneous and damage-induced mutation rates, along with increased chronological life span. We attribute these effects to an increased usage of the template switch branch of the DNA-damage tolerance pathway in the spn1 strain. This provides evidence for a role of wild-type Spn1 in promoting genome instability, as well as having ties to overcoming replication stress and contributing to chronological aging.
Project description:In the era of network medicine, pathway analysis methods play a central role in the prediction of phenotype from high throughput experiments. In this paper, we present a network-based systems biology approach capable of extracting disease-perturbed subpathways within pathway networks in connection with expression data taken from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Our system extends pathways with missing regulatory elements, such as microRNAs, and their interactions with genes. The framework enables the extraction, visualization, and analysis of statistically significant disease-specific subpathways through an easy to use web interface. Our analysis shows that the methodology is able to fill the gap in current techniques, allowing a more comprehensive analysis of the phenomena underlying disease states.
Project description:DNA lesions that block transcription may cause cell death even when repaired, if transcription does not restart to reestablish cellular metabolism. However, transcription resumption after individual DNA-lesion repair remains poorly described in mechanistic terms and its players are largely unknown. The general transcription factor II H (TFIIH) is a major actor of both nucleotide excision repair subpathways of which transcription-coupled repair highlights the interplay between DNA repair and transcription. Using an unbiased proteomic approach, we have identified the protein eleven-nineteen lysine-rich leukemia (ELL) as a TFIIH partner. Here we show that ELL is recruited to UV-damaged chromatin in a Cdk7- dependent manner (a component of the cyclin-dependent activating kinase subcomplex of TFIIH). We demonstrate that depletion of ELL strongly hinders RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II) transcription resumption after lesion removal and DNA gap filling. Lack of ELL was also observed to increase RNA Pol II retention to the chromatin during this process. Identifying ELL as an essential player for RNA Pol II restart during cellular DNA damage response opens the way to obtaining a mechanistic description of transcription resumption after DNA repair.