Guidelines for DNA recombination and repair studies: Cellular assays of DNA repair pathways.
ABSTRACT: Understanding the plasticity of genomes has been greatly aided by assays for recombination, repair and mutagenesis. These assays have been developed in microbial systems that provide the advantages of genetic and molecular reporters that can readily be manipulated. Cellular assays comprise genetic, molecular, and cytological reporters. The assays are powerful tools but each comes with its particular advantages and limitations. Here the most commonly used assays are reviewed, discussed, and presented as the guidelines for future studies.
Project description:Genomes are constantly in flux, undergoing changes due to recombination, repair and mutagenesis. In vivo, many of such changes are studies using reporters for specific types of changes, or through cytological studies that detect changes at the single-cell level. Single molecule assays, which are reviewed here, can detect transient intermediates and dynamics of events. Biochemical assays allow detailed investigation of the DNA and protein activities of each step in a repair, recombination or mutagenesis event. Each type of assay is a powerful tool but each comes with its particular advantages and limitations. Here the most commonly used assays are reviewed, discussed, and presented as the guidelines for future studies.
Project description:Fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) is a pharmaceutical target whose inhibition may lead to valuable therapeutics. Sensitive substrates for high-throughput assays are crucial for the rapid-screening FAAH inhibitors. Here we describe the development of novel and highly sensitive fluorescent assays for FAAH based on substituted aminopyridines. Examining the relationship between the structure and the fluorescence of substituted aminopyridines suggested that a methoxy group in the para position relative to the amino group in aminopyridines greatly increased the fluorescence (i.e., quantum yields approach unity). These novel fluorescent reporters had a high Stokes' shift of 94 nm, and their fluorescence in buffer systems increased with pH values from neutral to basic. Fluorescent substrates with these reporters displayed a very low fluorescent background and high aqueous solubility. Most importantly, fluorescent assays for FAAH based on these substrates were at least 25 times more sensitive than assays using related compounds with published colorimetric or fluorescent reporters. This property results in shorter assay times and decreased protein concentrations in the assays. Such sensitive assays will facilitate distinguishing the relative potency of powerful inhibitors of FAAH. When these fluorescent substrates were applied to human liver microsomes, results suggested that there was at least one amide hydrolase in addition to FAAH that could hydrolyze long-chain fatty acid amides. These results show that these fluorescent substrates are very valuable tools in FAAH activity assays including screening inhibitors by high-throughput assays instead of using the costly and labor-intensive radioactive ligands. Potential applications of novel fluorescent reporters are discussed.
Project description:Demand for highly sensitive, robust diagnostics and environmental monitoring methods has led to extensive research in improving reporter technologies. Inorganic phosphorescent materials exhibiting persistent luminescence are commonly found in electroluminescent displays and glowing paints but are not widely used as reporters in diagnostic assays. Persistent luminescence nanoparticles (PLNPs) offer advantages over conventional photoluminescent probes, including the potential for enhanced sensitivity by collecting time-resolved measurements or images with decreased background autofluorescence while eliminating the need for expensive optical hardware, superior resistance to photobleaching, amenability to quantitation, and facile bioconjugation schemes. We isolated rare-earth doped strontium aluminate PLNPs from larger-particle commercial materials by wet milling and differential sedimentation and water-stabilized the particles by silica encapsulation using a modified Stöber process. Surface treatment with aldehyde silane followed by reductive amination with heterobifunctional amine-poly(ethylene glycol)-carboxyl allowed covalent attachment of proteins to the particles using standard carbodiimide chemistry. NeutrAvidin PLNPs were used in lateral flow assays (LFAs) with biotinylated lysozyme as a model analyte in buffer and monoclonal anti-lysozyme HyHEL-5 antibodies at the test line. Preliminary experiments revealed a limit of detection below 100 pg/mL using the NeutrAvidin PLNPs, which was approximately an order of magnitude more sensitive than colloidal gold.
Project description:To ward off against the catastrophic consequences of persistent DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), eukaryotic cells have developed a set of complex signaling networks that detect these DNA lesions, orchestrate cell cycle checkpoints and ultimately lead to their repair. Collectively, these signaling networks comprise the DNA damage response (DDR). The current knowledge of the molecular determinants and mechanistic details of the DDR owes greatly to the continuous development of ground-breaking experimental tools that couple the controlled induction of DSBs at distinct genomic positions with assays and reporters to investigate DNA repair pathways, their impact on other DNA-templated processes and the specific contribution of the chromatin environment. In this review, we present these tools, discuss their pros and cons and illustrate their contribution to our current understanding of the DDR.
Project description:Recent studies employing genome-wide approaches have provided an unprecedented view of the scope of L1 activities on structural variations in the human genome, and further reinforced the role of L1s as one of the major driving forces behind human genome evolution. The rapid identification of novel L1 elements by these high-throughput approaches demands improved L1 functional assays. However, the existing assays use antibiotic selection markers or fluorescent proteins as reporters; neither is amenable to miniaturization. To increase assay sensitivity and throughput, we have developed a third generation assay by using dual-luciferase reporters, in which firefly luciferase is used as the retrotransposition indicator and Renilla luciferase is encoded on the same or separate plasmid for normalization. This novel assay is highly sensitive and has a broad dynamic range. Quantitative data with high signal-to-noise ratios can be obtained from 24- up to 96-well plates in 2-4 days after transfection. Using the dual-luciferase assays, we have characterized profiles of retrotransposition by various human and mouse L1 elements, and detailed the kinetics of L1 retrotransposition in cultured cells. Its high-throughput and short assay timeframe make it well suited for routine tests as well as large-scale screening efforts.
Project description:The capacity to repair different types of DNA damage varies among individuals, making them more or less susceptible to the detrimental health consequences of damage exposures. Current methods for measuring DNA repair capacity (DRC) are relatively labor intensive, often indirect, and usually limited to a single repair pathway. Here, we describe a fluorescence-based multiplex flow-cytometric host cell reactivation assay (FM-HCR) that measures the ability of human cells to repair plasmid reporters, each bearing a different type of DNA damage or different doses of the same type of DNA damage. FM-HCR simultaneously measures repair capacity in any four of the following pathways: nucleotide excision repair, mismatch repair, base excision repair, nonhomologous end joining, homologous recombination, and methylguanine methyltransferase. We show that FM-HCR can measure interindividual DRC differences in a panel of 24 cell lines derived from genetically diverse, apparently healthy individuals, and we show that FM-HCR may be used to identify inhibitors or enhancers of DRC. We further develop a next-generation sequencing-based HCR assay (HCR-Seq) that detects rare transcriptional mutagenesis events due to lesion bypass by RNA polymerase, providing an added dimension to DRC measurements. FM-HCR and HCR-Seq provide powerful tools for exploring relationships among global DRC, disease susceptibility, and optimal treatment.
Project description:The xeroderma pigmentosum group D (XPD) helicase is a component of the transcription factor IIH complex in eukaryotes and plays an essential role in DNA repair in the nucleotide excision repair pathway. XPD is a 5' to 3' helicase with an essential iron-sulfur cluster. Structural and biochemical studies of the monomeric archaeal XPD homologues have aided a mechanistic understanding of this important class of helicase, but several important questions remain open. In particular, the mechanism for DNA loading, which is assumed to require large protein conformational change, is not fully understood. Here, DNA binding by the archaeal XPD helicase from Thermoplasma acidophilum has been investigated using a combination of crystallography, cross-linking, modified substrates and biochemical assays. The data are consistent with an initial tight binding of ssDNA to helicase domain 2, followed by transient opening of the interface between the Arch and 4FeS domains, allowing access to a second binding site on helicase domain 1 that directs DNA through the pore. A crystal structure of XPD from Sulfolobus acidocaldiarius that lacks helicase domain 2 has an otherwise unperturbed structure, emphasizing the stability of the interface between the Arch and 4FeS domains in XPD.
Project description:Fluorescent reporters are an important tool for monitoring dynamics of bacterial populations at the single cell and community level. While there are a large range of reporter constructs available-particularly for common model organisms like E. coli-fewer options exist for other species, including E. faecalis, a gram-positive opportunistic pathogen. To expand the potential toolkit available for E. faecalis, we exchanged the original fluorescent reporter in a previously developed plasmid (pBSU101) with one of eight fluorescent reporters and confirmed that all constructs exhibited detectable fluorescence in single E. faecalis cells and mixed biofilm communities. To identify promising constructs for bulk-level experiments, we then measured the fluorescence spectra from E. faecalis populations in microwell plate (liquid) cultures during different phases of aerobic growth. Cultures showed density- and reporter-specific variations in fluorescent signal, though spectral signatures of all reporters become clear in late-exponential and stationary-phase populations. Based on these results, we identified six pairs of reporters that can be combined with simple spectral unmixing to accurately estimate population composition in 2-strain mixtures at or near stationary phase. This approach offers a simple and scalable method for selection and competition experiments in simple two-species populations under aerobic growth conditions. Finally, we incorporated codon-optimized variants of blue (BFP) and red (RFP) reporters and show that they lead to increased fluorescence in exponentially growing cells. As a whole, the results inform the scope of application of different reporters and identify both single reporters and reporter pairs that are promising for fluorescence-based assays at bulk and single-cell levels in E. faecalis.
Project description:Application of PCR to multiplexing assays is not trivial; it requires multiple fluorescent labels for amplicon detection and sophisticated software for data interpretation. Alternative PCR-free methods exploiting new concepts in nanotechnology exhibit high sensitivities but require multiple labeling and/or amplification steps. Here, we propose to simplify the problem of simultaneous analysis of multiple targets in genetic assays by detecting directly the conformation, rather than mass, of target amplicons produced in the same PCR reaction. The new methodology exploits acoustic wave devices which are shown to be able to characterize in a fully quantitative manner multiple double stranded DNAs of various lengths. The generic nature of the combined acoustic/PCR platform is shown using real samples and, specifically, during the detection of SNP genotyping in Anopheles gambiae and gene expression quantification in treated mice. The method possesses significant advantages to TaqMan assay and real-time PCR regarding multiplexing capability, speed, simplicity and cost.
Project description:Based on the crystal structure of human DNA ligase I complexed with nicked DNA, computer-aided drug design was used to identify compounds in a database of 1.5 million commercially available low molecular weight chemicals that were predicted to bind to a DNA-binding pocket within the DNA-binding domain of DNA ligase I, thereby inhibiting DNA joining. Ten of 192 candidates specifically inhibited purified human DNA ligase I. Notably, a subset of these compounds was also active against the other human DNA ligases. Three compounds that differed in their specificity for the three human DNA ligases were analyzed further. L82 inhibited DNA ligase I, L67 inhibited DNA ligases I and III, and L189 inhibited DNA ligases I, III, and IV in DNA joining assays with purified proteins and in cell extract assays of DNA replication, base excision repair, and nonhomologous end-joining. L67 and L189 are simple competitive inhibitors with respect to nicked DNA, whereas L82 is an uncompetitive inhibitor that stabilized complex formation between DNA ligase I and nicked DNA. In cell culture assays, L82 was cytostatic whereas L67 and L189 were cytotoxic. Concordant with their ability to inhibit DNA repair in vitro, subtoxic concentrations of L67 and L189 significantly increased the cytotoxicity of DNA-damaging agents. Interestingly, the ligase inhibitors specifically sensitized cancer cells to DNA damage. Thus, these novel human DNA ligase inhibitors will not only provide insights into the cellular function of these enzymes but also serve as lead compounds for the development of anticancer agents.