The yield of DNA single-strand breaks, G(SSB), upon γ irradiation of SV40 DNA and SV40 minichromosomes in aqueous solution under aerobic conditions was determined at physiological ionic strength in the presence of various potential radioprotective agents. Putrescine (PUT), spermidine (SPD), glutathione, trans-4,5-dihydroxy-1,2-dithiane, 2-mercaptoethyl disulfide and cystamine, all at 0.1-10 mM, spermine (SPM, 0.1-1 mM) and WR-33278 (WRSSWR, 0.1-2 mM) lowered G(SSB) of SV40 DNA. These results were expected from the ability of these agents to scavenge OH radical in the bulk solution. However, SPD, above 10 mM, and SPM and WRSSWR, each above 2 mM, produced dramatic radioprotection attributed to polyamine-induced compaction and aggregation of the DNA (PICA effect). The DNA of SV40 minichromosomes was inherently less radiosensitive and was subject to a PICA effect at lower polyamine concentrations, i.e. ∼5 mM SPD, ∼0.6 mM SPM and ∼0.5 mM WRSSWR. The PICA effect decreased G(SSB) for SV40 DNA and minichromosomes by one to two orders of magnitude, depending upon the scavenging capacity of the medium. The final yields were similar for SV40 DNA and minichromosomes and were comparable to the corresponding yield determined for cells. Results for the yield of double-strand breaks indicated that the yield of double-strand breaks, G(DSB), for DNA and minichromosomes is subject to a PICA effect by SPM and SPD comparable to that measured for G(SSB). Values of G(SSB) for SV40 DNA and minichromosomes subjected to the PICA effect were well approximated by calculations based upon a 30-nm cylinder assumed to model their condensed states. The results indicate that a major fraction of the formation of SSBs in condensed DNA and minichromosomes results from nonscavengeable radical intermediates. Minichromosomes subjected to the PICA effect of 2 mM SPM were protected against formation of radiation-induced SSBs 1.5-fold by 20 mM DTT but 5-fold by 10 mM DTT plus 10 mM WR-1065 relative to 2 mM SPM alone. Thus WR-1065 is capable of providing marked protection of compacted and aggregated minichromosomes, a protection ascribed to the chemical repair of DNA radicals by WR-1065.

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