Topoisomerase II-mediated DNA damage is differently repaired during the cell cycle by non-homologous end joining and homologous recombination

Marcelo de Campos-Nebel, Irene Larripa, Marcela González-Cid
PloS One 2010, 5 (9)
Topoisomerase II (Top2) is a nuclear enzyme involved in several metabolic processes of DNA. Chemotherapy agents that poison Top2 are known to induce persistent protein-mediated DNA double strand breaks (DSB). In this report, by using knock down experiments, we demonstrated that Top2alpha was largely responsible for the induction of gammaH2AX and cytotoxicity by the Top2 poisons idarubicin and etoposide in normal human cells. As DSB resulting from Top2 poisons-mediated damage may be repaired by non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or homologous recombination (HR), we aimed to analyze both DNA repair pathways. We found that DNA-PKcs was rapidly activated in human cells, as evidenced by autophosphorylation at serine 2056, following Top2-mediated DNA damage. The chemical inhibition of DNA-PKcs by wortmannin and vanillin resulted in an increased accumulation of DNA DSB, as evaluated by the comet assay. This was supported by a hypersensitive phenotype to Top2 poisons of Ku80- and DNA-PKcs- defective Chinese hamster cell lines. We also showed that Rad51 protein levels, Rad51 foci formation and sister chromatid exchanges were increased in human cells following Top2-mediated DNA damage. In support, BRCA2- and Rad51C- defective Chinese hamster cells displayed hypersensitivity to Top2 poisons. The analysis by immunofluorescence of the DNA DSB repair response in synchronized human cell cultures revealed activation of DNA-PKcs throughout the cell cycle and Rad51 foci formation in S and late S/G2 cells. Additionally, we found an increase of DNA-PKcs-mediated residual repair events, but not Rad51 residual foci, into micronucleated and apoptotic cells. Therefore, we conclude that in human cells both NHEJ and HR are required, with cell cycle stage specificity, for the repair of Top2-mediated reversible DNA damage. Moreover, NHEJ-mediated residual repair events are more frequently associated to irreversibly damaged cells.


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