The Francis Crick Institute
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Quantitative, titratable and high-throughput reporter assays to measure DNA double strand break repair activity in cells.

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-29, 10:50 authored by Eeson Rajendra, Diego Grande, Bethany Mason, Daniela Di Marcantonio, Lucy Armstrong, Graeme Hewitt, Elias Elinati, Alessandro Galbiati, Simon J Boulton, Robert A Heald, Graeme CM Smith, Helen MR Robinson
Repair of DNA damage is essential for the maintenance of genome stability and cell viability. DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) constitute a toxic class of DNA lesion and multiple cellular pathways exist to mediate their repair. Robust and titratable assays of cellular DSB repair (DSBR) are important to functionally interrogate the integrity and efficiency of these mechanisms in disease models as well as in response to genetic or pharmacological perturbations. Several variants of DSBR reporters are available, however these are often limited by throughput or restricted to specific cellular models. Here, we describe the generation and validation of a suite of extrachromosomal reporter assays that can efficiently measure the major DSBR pathways of homologous recombination (HR), classical nonhomologous end joining (cNHEJ), microhomology-mediated end joining (MMEJ) and single strand annealing (SSA). We demonstrate that these assays can be adapted to a high-throughput screening format and that they are sensitive to pharmacological modulation, thus providing mechanistic and quantitative insights into compound potency, selectivity, and on-target specificity. We propose that these reporter assays can serve as tools to dissect the interplay of DSBR pathway networks in cells and will have broad implications for studies of DSBR mechanisms in basic research and drug discovery.


Crick (Grant ID: CC2057, Grant title: Boulton CC2057) European Research Council (Grant ID: 742437 - TelMetab, Grant title: ERC 742437 - TelMetab)