A quantitative assay for assessing the effects of DNA lesions on transcription

Changjun You, Xiaoxia Dai, Bifeng Yuan, Jin Wang, Jianshuang Wang, Philip J. Brooks, Laura J. Niedernhofer, Yinsheng Wang

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51 Scopus citations


Most mammalian cells in nature are quiescent but actively transcribing mRNA for normal physiological processes; thus, it is important to investigate how endogenous and exogenous DNA damage compromises transcription in cells. Here we describe a new competitive transcription and adduct bypass (CTAB) assay to determine the effects of DNA lesions on the fidelity and efficiency of transcription. Using this strategy, we demonstrate that the oxidatively induced lesions 8,5′-cyclo-2′-deoxyadenosine (cdA) and 8,5′-cyclo- 2′-deoxyguanosine (cdG) and the methylglyoxal-induced lesion N 2 -(1-carboxyethyl)-2′-deoxyguanosine (N 2 -CEdG) strongly inhibited transcription in vitro and in mammalian cells. In addition, cdA and cdG, but not N 2 -CEdG, induced transcriptional mutagenesis in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, when located on the template DNA strand, all examined lesions were primarily repaired by transcription-coupled nucleotide excision repair in mammalian cells. This newly developed CTAB assay should be generally applicable for quantitatively assessing how other DNA lesions affect DNA transcription in vitro and in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)817-822
Number of pages6
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank T.R. O’Connor (City of Hope), G.P. Pfeifer (City of Hope) and M. Seidman (National Institute of Aging) for providing cell lines and plasmid. This work was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (R01 DK082779, R01 ES019873 and R01 CA101864 to Y.W. and R01 ES016114 to L.J.N.).


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