Visualization of focal nuclear sites of DNA repair synthesis induced by bleomycin in human cells

N. V. Tomilin, L. V. Solovjeva, M. P. Svetlova, N. M. Pleskach, I. A. Zalenskaya, P. M. Yau, E. M. Bradbury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we examined DNA repair synthesis in human cells treated with the radiomimetic drug bleomycin, which efficiently induces double-strand breaks (DSBs). Using tyramide-biotin to amplify fluorescent signals, discrete nuclear foci from the incorporation of 5-iododeoxyuridine (IdU) were detected in proliferating human cells treated with bleomycin. We believe this comes from the repair of DSBs. An increase in the number of foci (> 5 per nucleus) was detected in a major fraction (75%) of non-S-phase cells labeled for 30 min with IdU 1 h after the end of bleomycin treatment. The fraction of cells with multiple IdU-containing foci was found to decrease 18 h after treatment. The average number of foci per nucleus detected 1 h after bleomycin treatment was found to decrease twofold between 1 and 3.5 h, indicating that the foci may be associated with the slow component of DSB repair. The presence of DSBs in bleomycin-treated cells was confirmed using antibodies against phosphorylated histone H2AX (γ-H2AX), which is strictly associated with this type of DNA damage. After treatment with bleomycin, non-S-phase cells also displayed heterogeneous nuclear foci containing tightly bound proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), suggesting an ongoing process of unscheduled DNA synthesis. PCNA is known to be involved in base excision repair, but a fraction of the PCNA foci may also be associated with DNA synthesis occurring during the repair of DSBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalRadiation Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiation
  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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