The technique of high-resolution gel electrophoresis using oligodeoxyribonucleotides of known composition as model systems, offers a simple quantitative estimate of DNA damage in aqueous solution induced by ionizing radiation. The fraction of damaged DNA can be quantitatively defined in terms of the increased electrophoretic mobilities of the damaged oligonucleotides, relative to the mobility of the unirradiated and intact oligonucleotides. The usual direct strand breaks can be observed at γ-ray dosages of 200 Gy. However, at a γ-ray dosage of 400 Gy, only a broad background, attributed to heterogeneously and multiply damaged oligonucleotide fragments with overlapping and varying electrophoretic mobilities, can be distinguished. On the other hand, individual bands due to resolvable DNA fragments are evident even at dosages as high as 400 Gy for fission neutrons. When double-stranded oligonucleotides are exposed to γ-ray dosages of 200 Gy, the fraction of damaged DNA approaches 30-40%. This damage can be almost completely suppressed (>99%) if the irradiations are conducted in aqueous solutions in the presence of 0.5-1.0 mM concentrations of the thiols cysteamine or 3-(3-methylaminopropylamino)propanethiol (WR-151326). The rate constant of reaction of OH· radicals with small double stranded oligonucleotides 16 base pairs long, KDNA, is found to be closer to the diffusion-controlled value (> 3 × 109 M-1 s-1) than the magnitudes of KDNA for the higher molecular weight, native DNA reported in the literature. These observations suggest that oligonucleotides represent more simple model systems than native DNA in solutions for studying the mechanisms of radioprotection exerted by thiols of different structures.
- DNA oligomers
- Gel electrophoresis
- Radiation protection
- Strand breaks
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis