Novel approach for the detection of alkylated bases using the enzyme-modified comet assay
The enzyme-modified comet assay is widely used for the detection of oxidized DNA lesions. Here we describe for the first time the use of the human alkyladenine DNA glycosylase (hAAG) for the detection of alkylated bases. hAAG was titrated using untreated and methyl methanesulfonate (MMS)-treated TK-6 cells. The hAAG-modified comet assay was compared to the formamidopyrimidine DNA glycosylase (Fpg)-modified comet assay, widely used to detect oxidized lesions but that also detects ring-opened purines derived from some alkylated lesions, using cells treated with potassium bromate (oxidizing agent) or MMS. Moreover, neutral and alkaline lysis conditions were used to determine the nature of detected lesions. When alkaline lysis was employed (condition normally used), the level of hAAG-sensitive sites was higher than the Fpg-sensitive sites in MMS-treated cells and hAAG, unlike Fpg, did not detect oxidized bases. After neutral lysis, Fpg did not detect MMS-induced lesions; however, results obtained with hAAG remained unchanged. As expected, Fpg detected oxidized purines and imidazole ring-opened purines, derived from N7-methylguanines under alkaline conditions. It seems that hAAG detected N7-methylguanines, the ring-opened purines derived at high pH, and 3-methlyladenines. Specificity of hAAG towards different DNA lesions was evaluated using a multiplex oligonucleotide-cleavage assay, confirming the ability of hAAG to detect ethenoadenines and hypoxanthine. The hAAG-modified comet assay is a new tool for the detection of alkylated bases.