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Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Jun 15;31(12):3134-42.

Inter-strand photoproducts are produced in high yield within A-DNA exposed to UVC radiation.

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Laboratoire 'Lésions des Acides Nucléiques', Service de Chimie Inorganique et Biologique, FRE 2600, CEA/DSM/Département de Recherche Fondamentale sur la Matière Condensée, CEA-Grenoble, 17 Avenue des Martyrs, 38054 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.


Far-UV irradiation of DNA leads to the dimerization of pyrimidine bases, resulting in the formation of cyclobutane type dimers and (6-4) photoproducts. In the dry state, an additional thymine dimeric photolesion, the spore photoproduct, is also generated. While most photoproducts are expected to be produced between adjacent pyrimidines, little attention has been paid to lesions involving bases located on different DNA strands. Using HPLC- mass spectrometry analysis of enzymatically digested DNA, we observed that, in the dry state, inter-strand dimeric photoproducts represented 30% of the total yield of dimeric thymine lesions. The major inter-strand damage was found to be the spore photoproduct. Formation of inter-strand lesions in significant yield could be obtained in solution upon modification of the DNA conformation as the result of the addition of large amounts of ethanol. In both cases, DNA is in the A-form, which is characterized by a high compaction, likely to favor inter-strand photoreactions. Since the latter DNA conformation is also predominant in bacterial spores, the formation and repair of dimeric photoproducts involving thymine bases located on different DNA strands may thus be relevant in terms of deleterious effects of UV radiation to the latter microorganisms.

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