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Cell Immunol. 1991 Nov;138(1):108-20.

Human neutrophil peptide defensins induce single strand DNA breaks in target cells.

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Department of Medicine, V.A. Wadsworth-UCLA Medical Center 90073.


To investigate whether target cell DNA injury participates in cytolysis by human neutrophil defensins (HNP), we analyzed HNP-treated cells for single strand breaks by the alkaline unwinding assay and the activation of ADPribose polymerase, a DNA repair enzyme. Strand breaks and ADP-ribosylation were first detected in K562 and Raji targets 6-8 hr after incubation with HNP and increased to maximal levels by 18 hr. DNA was not degraded into nucleosome-sized fragments. To assess the impact of DNA injury on cytolysis, we increased strand breakage by coincubating targets with HNP and two inhibitors of ADPribose polymerase, 3-aminobenzamide, or nicotinamide. Concurrently with inhibiting polymerase activity and increasing DNA injury, these agents significantly enhanced HNP-mediated cytolysis. Enhancement occurred only at time points (over 6 hr) and in targets (only nucleated targets) where HNP-induced DNA injury could be occurring. These data indicate that neutrophil defensins can induce DNA injury in targets and suggest such injury may be involved in target cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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