alexa Single-Nuclear DNA Instability Analyses by Means of Sin

Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis
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Review Article

Single-Nuclear DNA Instability Analyses by Means of Single-Cell Pulsed- Field Gel Electrophoresis - Technical Problems of the Comet Assay and Their Solutions for Quantitative Measurements

Satoru Kaneko1*, Joji Yoshida1, Hiromichi Ishikawa2 and Kiyoshi Takamatsu1

1Reproduction Center, Gynecology, Ichikawa General Hospital, Tokyo Dental College, 5-11-13 Sugano, Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan

2Reproduction Center, Urology, Ichikawa General Hospital, Tokyo Dental College, 5-11-13 Sugano, Ichikawa, Chiba, Japan

*Corresponding Author:
Satoru Kaneko
Reproduction Center, Gynecology
Ichikawa General Hospital, Tokyo Dental College
5-11-13 Sugano, Ichikawa, Chibac 272-8513, Japan
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: March 26, 2013; Accepted date: June 17, 2013; Published date: June 19, 2013

Citation: Kaneko S, Yoshida J, Ishikawa H, Takamatsu K (2013) Single-Nuclear DNA Instability Analyses by Means of Single-Cell Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis - Technical Problems of the Comet Assay and Their Solutions for Quantitative Measurements. J Mol Biomark Diagn S5:005. doi: 10.4172/2155-9929.S5-005

Copyright: © 2013 Kaneko S, et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited



Throughout the past decade, the neutral and alkaline comet assays, which lyses cells with high salt in the
absence of proteolysis, have been the most widely used methods to observe single- or double-strand breaks (SSB,
DSB) in a single nucleus. These methods evaluate the degree of DNA damage based on the amount of granular
fragments discharged from the origin, the so-called “comet tail,” but not of long chain DNA fibers. Meanwhile, a novel,
single-cell pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (SCPFGE) method, which digested cells with trypsin, observed a different
course of DNA fragmentation: first, a few large fibrous fragments were derived from a bundle of long chain fibers,
then the cleavages were advanced until finally almost all the DNA was shredded to granular fragments. Some nuclear
DNA binding components were tolerant for high salt and high alkalinity, but were degraded by trypsin digestion. A
lack of trypsin digestion causes false negative results in both SCPFGE and comet assays. Also, most DNA fibers
were still fixed with components, and the comet tail did not reflect a total amount of granular fragments, but rather
those that released components. Repair of DSB is intrinsically difficult as compared to other DNA lesions, and the
critical threshold is extremely low.DNA fibers that have already been shredded to numerous granular fragments may
be irreparable as a result.
Although 100 - 300 mmol/L NaOH was commonly used in the alkaline comet assay, the naked DNA fibers
persisted in 10 mmol/L NaOH after trypsin digestion, but were shredded to granular fragments by 30 mmol/L. Neogenesis
of the granular fragments by high pH did not clarify the mechanism of such a result; that is, it was unknown
whether it was due to dissociation of hydrogen bonds, strand breaks through alkaline labile sites, artifactual DSB,
or a combination of actions. Optimum conditions for the comet assay need to be defined to achieve quantitative
DNA instability analyses by means SCPFGE is likely to serve as a fundamental step in single-cell genomics
to determine the competence of the cell population provided for DNA amplification methods and is likely to play an
important role in ensuring the safety of clinical regenerative medicine.


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