Results using neutral filter elution are difficult to explain if this method detects only DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In an attempt to understand neutral filter elution, the size of DNA pieces eluted from filters was measured using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Contrary to expectation, the size of the pieces was independent of radiation dose and time of elution, and much smaller (∼460 kb) than anticipated based on the expected number of DSBs induced. Shearing of the DNA molecule, the presence of nonspecific nucleases, and the influence of DNA-associated proteins were examined but could not explain our results. Consequently, we propose that cell lysis causes swelling of the DNA gel, and the exposed fraction of DNA on the surface of the gel is then sheared as the elution solution flows through the filter. We suggest that the rate of DNA elution measured using neutral filter elution is dependent upon the number of DSBs present, the composition of the eluting solution, especially with regard to the presence of molecules which can influence chromatin swelling on the filter, and the conformation or "packaging" of DNA before lysis.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.