UV light induces cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6-4) photoproducts (6-4PPs), which can result in carcinogenesis and aging, if not properly repaired by nucleotide excision repair (NER). Assays to determine DNA damage load and repair rates are invaluable tools for fundamental and clinical NER research. However, most current assays to quantify DNA damage and repair cannot be performed in real time. To overcome this limitation, we made use of the damage recognition characteristics of CPD and 6-4PP photolyases (PLs). Fluorescently-tagged PLs efficiently recognize UVinduced DNA damage without blocking NER activity, and therefore can be used as sensitive live-cell damage sensors. Importantly, FRAP-based assays showed that PLs bind to damaged DNA in a highly sensitive and dose-dependent manner, and can be used to quantify DNA damage load and to determine repair kinetics in real time. Additionally, PLs can instantly reverse DNA damage by 405 nm laserassisted photo-reactivation during live-cell imaging, opening new possibilities to study lesion-specific NER dynamics and cellular responses to damage removal. Our results show that fluorescently-tagged PLs can be used as a versatile tool to sense, quantify and repair DNA damage, and to study NER kinetics and UV-induced DNA damage response in living cells.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkz035, hdl.handle.net/1765/117001
Journal Nucleic Acids Research
Steurer, B, Türkyilmaz, Y, van Toorn, M., van Leeuwen, W.B, Escudero-Ferruz, P., & Marteijn, J.A. (2019). Fluorescently-labelled CPD and 6-4PP photolyases: new tools for live-cell DNA damage quantification and laser-assisted repair. Nucleic Acids Research, 47(7), 3536–3549. doi:10.1093/nar/gkz035