Biologically relevant oxidants cause bound proteins to readily oxidatively cross-link at Guanine

Morwena J. Solivio, Dessalegn B. Nemera, Larry Sallans, Edward J. Merino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Oxidative DNA-protein cross-links have received less attention than other types of DNA damage and remain as one of the least understood types of oxidative lesion. A model system using ribonuclease A and a 27-nucleotide DNA was used to determine the propensity of oxidative cross-linking to occur in the presence of oxidants. Cross-link formation was examined using four different oxidation systems that generate singlet oxygen, superoxide, and metal-based Fenton reactions. It is shown that oxidative cross-linking occurs in yields ranging from 14% to a maximal yield of 61% in all oxidative systems when equivalent concentrations of DNA and protein are present. Because singlet oxygen is (Figure presented) the most efficient oxidation system in generating DNA-protein cross-links, it was chosen for further analyses. Cross-linking occurred with single-stranded DNA binding protein and not with bovine serum albumin. Addition of salt lowered nonspecific binding affinity and lowered cross-link yield by up to 59%. The yield of cross-linking increased with increased ratios of protein compared with DNA. Cross-linking was highly dependent on the number of guanines in a DNA sequence. Loss of guanine content on the 27-nucleotide DNA led to nearly complete loss in cross-linking, while primer extension studies showed cross-links to predominantly occur at guanine base on a 100-nucleotide DNA. The chemical species generated were examined using two peptides derived from the ribonuclease A sequence, N-acetyl-AAAKF and N-acetyl-AYKTT, which were cross-linked to 2′-deoxyguanosine. The cross-link products were spiroiminodihydantoin, guanidinohydantoin, and tyrosyl-based adducts. Formation of tyrosine-based adducts may be competitive with the more well-studied lysine-based cross-links. We conclude that oxidative cross-links may be present at high levels in cells since the propensity to oxidatively cross-link is high and so much of the genomic DNA is coated with protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)326-336
Number of pages11
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 20 2012
Externally publishedYes


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