Comparing Two Methods for the Isolation of ExosomesRead the full article
Journal of Nucleic Acids publishes original research articles as well as review articles covering all structural, chemical, and functional aspects of DNA and RNA research.
Chief Editor Professor Ashis Basu is currently based at the University of Connecticut. His research focuses on determination of the consequences of DNA damaged by anti-tumor drugs, chemical carcinogens, oxidation, or radiation.
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Development of a Reference Method and Materials for Quantitative Measurement of UV-Induced DNA Damage in Mammalian Cells: Comparison of Comet Assay and Cell Viability
Application of DNA damage diagnostic tests is rapidly growing, in particular for ovarian, prostate, and skin cancers; environmental monitoring; chronic and degenerative diseases; and male infertility. Such tests suffer from significant variability among different laboratories due the lack of standardization, experimental validation, and differences in data interpretation. Reference methods and materials for quantitative measurement of UVA-induced DNA damage in mammalian cells are frequently needed. In this study, we examined the use of the single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay to assess the UVA-induced DNA damage in surface-attached Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells treated with a photosensitizer as a candidate cellular oxidative damage reference material. We found that the comet images became diffused and the viability of the cells decreased substantially (>20%) as the UVA dose and benzo [a] pyrene (BaP) concentration exceeded 6.3 J/cm2 and 10−6 mol/L BaP. Maintaining the conditions of exposure within this range can improve DNA damage measurement fidelity, particularly if used as a quantitative reference method and to produce materials considered as an in vitro standard for the comet assay.
Update on the Development of Toehold Switch-Based Approach for Molecular Diagnostic Tests of COVID-19
A high volume of diagnostic tests is needed during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic to obtain representative results. These results can help to design and implement effective policies to prevent the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). Diagnosis using current gold standard methods, i.e., real-time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR), is challenging, especially in areas with limited trained personnel and health-related infrastructure. The toehold switch-based diagnostic system is a promising alternative method for detecting SARS-CoV-2 that has advantages such as inexpensive cost per testing, rapid, and highly sensitive and specific analysis. Moreover, the system can be applied to paper-based platforms, simplifying the distribution and utilization in low-resource settings. This review provides insight into the development of toehold switch-based diagnostic devices as the most recent methods for detecting SARS-CoV-2.
Exposure to a Pathological Condition May Be Required for the Cells to Secrete Exosomes Containing mtDNA Aberration
Exosomes, nanovesicles secreted by all cells, carry out intercellular communication by transmitting biologically active cargo comprising DNA, RNA, and proteins. These biomolecules reflect the status of their parent cells and can be altered by pathological conditions. Therefore, the researchers have been investigating differential sequences and quantities of DNA associated with exosomes as valuable biomarkers of diseases. Exosomes carry different types of DNA molecules, including genomic, cytoplasmic, and mitochondrial (mtDNA). The mtDNA aberrations are reported to be a hallmark of diseases involving oxidative stress, such as cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Establishing robust in vitro models comprising appropriate cell lineages is the first step towards investigating disease-specific anomalies and testing therapeutics. Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from patients with diseases have been used for this purpose since they can differentiate into various cells. The current study investigated mtDNA aberrations in exosomes secreted by primary cancer cells and neural stem cells (NSCs) differentiated from iPS cells. The primary cancer cells were isolated from surgically removed glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) tissue, and the iPS cells were produced from control and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) subjects’ B lymphocytes. We detected aberrations in mtDNA associated with exosomes secreted from GBM cells but not from the NSCs. This result indicates that the cells may not secrete exosomes carrying mtDNA aberration without exposure to a pathological condition. Thus, we may need to consider this fact when we use iPS cell-derived cells as an in vitro disease model.
Perturbing the Normal Level of SIDT1 Suppresses the Naked ASO Effect
Although antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) therapeutics can be taken up by living cells without carrier molecules, a large part of incorporated ASOs are trapped in the endosomes and do not exert therapeutic effects. To improve their therapeutic effects, it would be important to elucidate the mechanism of cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of ASOs. In this study, we investigated how SIDT1 affects cellular uptake and intracellular trafficking of ASOs. Fluorescence microscopic analysis suggested that most of naked ASOs are trafficked to the lysosomes via the endosomes. The data obtained from flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy together showed that although the SIDT1 level barely affects the total cellular uptake of ASOs, it appears to affect the intracellular trafficking of ASOs. We also showed that SIDT1 exists mainly in the endoplasmic reticulum and that perturbing the normal level of SIDT1 suppresses the antisense effect of the naked ASO targeting miR-16.
DNAzymes, Novel Therapeutic Agents in Cancer Therapy: A Review of Concepts to Applications
The past few decades have witnessed a rapid evolution in cancer drug research which is aimed at developing active biological interventions to regulate cancer-specific molecular targets. Nucleic acid-based therapeutics, including ribozymes, antisense oligonucleotides, small interference RNA (siRNA), aptamer, and DNAzymes, have emerged as promising candidates regulating cancer-specific genes at either the transcriptional or posttranscriptional level. Gene-specific catalytic DNA molecules, or DNAzymes, have shown promise as a therapeutic intervention against cancer in various in vitro and in vivo models, expediting towards clinical applications. DNAzymes are single-stranded catalytic DNA that has not been observed in nature, and they are synthesized through in vitro selection processes from a large pool of random DNA libraries. The intrinsic properties of DNAzymes like small molecular weight, higher stability, excellent programmability, diversity, and low cost have brought them to the forefront of the nucleic acid-based therapeutic arsenal available for cancers. In recent years, considerable efforts have been undertaken to assess a variety of DNAzymes against different cancers. However, their therapeutic application is constrained by the low delivery efficiency, cellular uptake, and target detection within the tumour microenvironment. Thus, there is a pursuit to identify efficient delivery methods in vivo before the full potential of DNAzymes in cancer therapy is realized. In this light, a review of the recent advances in the use of DNAzymes against cancers in preclinical and clinical settings is valuable to understand its potential as effective cancer therapy. We have thus sought to firstly provide a brief overview of construction and recent improvements in the design of DNAzymes. Secondly, this review stipulates the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of DNAzymes developed against major hallmarks of cancers tested in preclinical and clinical settings. Lastly, the recent advances in DNAzyme delivery systems along with the challenges and prospects for the clinical application of DNAzymes as cancer therapy are also discussed.
Genotoxic Effects of Etoposide, Bleomycin, and Ethyl Methanesulfonate on Cultured CHO Cells: Analysis by GC-MS/MS and Comet Assay
To evaluate methods for analysis of genotoxic effects on mammalian cell lines, we tested the effect of three common genotoxic agents on Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells by single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet assay) and gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS). Suspension-grown CHO cells were separately incubated with etoposide, bleomycin, and ethyl methanesulfonate and analyzed by an alkaline comet assay and GC-MS/MS. Although DNA strand breaks were detected by the comet assay after treatment with all three agents, GC-MS/MS could only detect DNA nucleobase lesions oxidatively induced by bleomycin. This demonstrates that although GC-MS/MS has limitations in detection of genotoxic effects, it can be used for selected chemical genotoxins that contribute to oxidizing processes. The comet assay, used in combination with GC-MS/MS, can be a more useful approach to screen a wide range of chemical genotoxins as well as to monitor other DNA-damaging factors.