DNA damage signaling, impairment of cell cycle progression, and apoptosis triggered by 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine incorporated into DNA



The “click chemistry” approach utilizing 5-ethynyl-2′-deoxyuridine (EdU) as a DNA precursor was recently introduced to assess DNA replication and adapted to flow- and imaging-cytometry. In the present study, we observed that EdU, once incorporated into DNA, induces DNA damage signaling (DDS) such as phosphorylation of ATM on Ser1981, of histone H2AX on Ser139, of p53 on Ser15, and of Chk2 on Thr68. It also perturbs progression of cells through the cell cycle and subsequently induces apoptosis. These effects were observed in non-small cell lung adenocarcinoma A549 as well as in B-cell human lymphoblastoid TK6 and WTK1 cells, differing in the status of p53 (wt versus mutated). After 1 h EdU pulse-labeling, the most affected was cells progression through the S phase subsequent to that at which they had incorporated EdU. This indicates that DNA replication using the template containing incorporated EdU is protracted and triggers DDS. Furthermore, progression of cells having DNA pulse-labeled with EdU led to accumulation of cells in G2, likely by activating G2 checkpoint. Consistent with the latter was activation of p53 and Chk2. Although a correlation was observed in A549 cells between the degree of EdU incorporation and the extent of γH2AX induction, such correlation was weak in TK6 and WTK1 cells. The degree of perturbation of the cell cycle kinetics by the incorporated EdU was different in the wt p53 TK6 cells as compared to their sister WTK1 cell line having mutated p53. The data are thus consistent with the role of p53 in modulating activation of cell cycle checkpoints in response to impaired DNA replication. The confocal microscopy analysis of the 3D images of cells exposed to EdU for 1 h pulse and then grown for 24 or 48 h revealed an increased number of colocalized γH2AX and p53BP1 foci considered to be markers of DNA double-strand breaks and enlarged nuclei. © 2013 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry