Reaction of Single-Stranded DNA with Hydroxyl Radical Generated by Iron(II)-Ethylenediaminetetraacetic Acid

Richard V. Prigodich & Craig T. Martin, Biochemistry 29, 8017-8019, 1990

This study demonstrates that the reaction of Fe(II)-EDTA and hydrogen peroxide with the single-stranded nucleic acids d(pT)70 and a 29 base sequence containing a mixture of bases results in substantial damage which is not directly detected by gel electrophoresis. Cleavage of the DNA sugar backbone is enhanced significantly after the samples are incubated at 90 oC in the presence of piperidine. The latter reaction is used in traditional Maxam-Gilbert DNA sequencing to detect base damage, and the current results are consistent with reaction of the hydroxyl radical with the bases in single stranded DNA (although reaction with sugar may also produce adducts which are uncleaved, but labile to cleavage by piperidine). We propose that hydroxyl radicals may react preferentially with the nucleic acid bases in ssDNA and that reaction of the sugars in dsDNA is dominant because the bases are sequestered within the double helix. These results have implications both for the study of single-stranded DNA binding protein binding sites and for the interpretation of experiments using the hydroxyl radical to probe DNA structure or to footprint double-stranded DNA binding protein binding sites.