Double-strand breaks (DSBs) induced by ionizing radiation are often accompanied by ancillary oxidative base damage that could prevent or delay their repair. In order to better define the features that make some DSBs repair-resistant, plasmid DSB substrates were constructed with two blunt ends, one having the oxidatively modified nonplanar base thymine glycol at the first, second or third positions from the 3′ terminus (Tg1, Tg2 and Tg3, respectively). End joining was examined in extracts of Bustel fibroblasts, wherein end joining is completely dependent on addition of exogenous recombinant XLF, and therefore reflects classical nonhomologous end joining. Tg at the third position had almost no effect on end-joining even when present on both ends of the break. However, the Tg1 and Tg2 substrates yielded tenfold to twentyfold less head-to-tail joins and no detectable head-to-head joins, suggesting that Tg as the terminal or penultimate base is a serious barrier to NHEJ and an absolute barrier when present at both ends. For all substrates, Tg-containing ligation products predominated at early times, and remarkably, a 3′ terminal Tg was in some cases directly ligated to an undamaged blunt end. Dideoxy trapping of base excision repair intermediates indicated that Tg was excised in the extracts, but largely if not exclusively after DSB ligation. For all substrates, accurate blunt end ligation without end trimming predominated. However addition of excess Artemis nuclease to the extracts resulted in a slightly shorter ligation product, and a slight increase in yield, for the Tg2 substrate only. For the Tg1 substrate, there was a distinct 2-hr delay between addition of substrate and the detection of ligated products, while the unmodified and Tg3 products showed a much shorter delay of ∼30 min. Overall, the results suggest that Tg can be a major impediment to DSB repair when present as the terminal or penultimate base, being relatively resistant to both trimming and ligation.

Citation Format: Duaa Bafail, Sri Lakshmi Chalasani, Mohammed Al mohaini, Konstantin Akopiants, Lawrence F. Povirk. Tolerance and intolerance of proximal thymine glycol in DNA double-strand break repair by nonhomologous end joining. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 3028. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-3028