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Yeast. 2011 Apr;28(4):265-78. doi: 10.1002/yea.1837. Epub 2011 Jan 16.

Sensitive detection of chemical-induced genotoxicity by the Cypridina secretory luciferase reporter assay, using DNA repair-deficient strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Molecular Genetics Laboratory, Division of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Department of Environmental and Life Sciences, Toyohashi University of Technology, Aichi, Japan.


Yeast-based reporter assays are useful for detecting various genotoxic chemicals. We established a genotoxicity assay using recombinant strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, each containing a reporter plasmid with the secretory luciferase gene from Cypridina noctiluca, driven by a DNA damage-responsive promoter of the yeast RNR3 gene. This system detected the genotoxicity of methyl methanesulphonate (MMS) as sensitively as conventional yeast-based reporter assays, using the β-galactosidase gene in a concentration-dependent manner; it also detects four other genotoxic chemicals, allowing us to monitor DNA damage easily by skipping the cell extraction process for the assay. We examined Cypridina luciferase levels induced by MMS and three antitumour agents using a set of BY4741-derived deletion mutants, each defective in a DNA repair pathway or DNA damage checkpoint. Luciferase activities were particularly enhanced in mutant strains with mms2 Δ and mag1 Δ by exposure to MMS, rad59 Δ and mlh1 Δ to camptothecin and mms2 Δ and mlh1 Δ to mitomycin C, respectively, compared with their parent strains. Enhanced reporter activities were also found in some DNA repair mutants with cisplatin. These observations suggest that this Cypridina secretory luciferase reporter assay using yeast DNA repair mutants offers convenient and sensitive detection of the potential genotoxicity of numerous compounds, including antitumour drugs and studying the mechanisms of DNA damage response in yeast.

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