Northern lights assay: A versatile method for comprehensive detection of DNA damage

Bjarki Gudmundsson, Hans G. Thormar, Albert Sigurdsson, Wendy Dankers, Margret Steinarsdottir, Stefan Hermanowicz, Stefan Sigurdsson, David Olafsson, Anna M. Halldorsdottir, Stephen Meyn, Jon J. Jonsson

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4 Citations (Scopus)


DNA damage assays have various limitations in types of lesions detected, sensitivity, specificity and samples that can be analyzed. The Northern Lights Assay (NLA) is based on 2D Strandness-Dependent Electrophoresis (2D-SDE), a technique that separates nucleic acids based on length, strandness, structure and conformation changes induced by damage. NLA is run on a microgel platform in 20- 25 min. Each specimen is analyzed in pairs of nondigested DNA to detect single- and double-stranded breaks (DSBs) and Mbo I-digested DNA to detect other lesions. We used NLA to evaluate DNA in solution and isolated from human cells treated with various genotoxic agents. NLA detected and distinguished between single- and DSBs, interstrand and intrastrand DNA crosslinks, and denatured singlestranded DNA. NLA was sufficiently sensitive to detect biologically relevant amount of DNA damage. NLA is a versatile, sensitive and simple method for comprehensive and simultaneous analysis of multiple types of damage, both in purified DNA and in DNA isolated from cells and body fluids. NLA can be used to evaluate DNA quality in biosamples, monitor complex molecular procedures, assess genotoxicity, diagnose genome instability, facilitate cancer theranostics and in basic nucleic acids research.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere118
Number of pages13
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Externally publishedYes

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