Electrophoresis, Vol.40, No.11, 1535-1539, 2019
Determination of genomic N3-methylthymidine in human cancer cells treated with nitrosamines using capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence
Methylating substances alter DNA by forming N3-methylthymidine (N3mT), a mutagenic base modification. To develop a sensitive analytical method for the detection of N3mT in DNA based on capillary electrophoresis with laser-induced fluorescence detection (CE-LIF), we synthesized the N3mT-3'-phosphate as a chemical standard. The limit of detection was 1.9 amol of N3mT, which corresponds to one molecule of N3mT per 1000 normal nucleotides or 0.1%. With this method, we demonstrated that the carcinogenic nitrosamine N'-nitrosonornicotine (NNN) induced N3mT in the human lung cancer cell line A549. Treatment with NNN also caused an elevated degree of 5-hydroxymethylcytidine (5hmdC) in DNA, while the methylation degree (i.e. 5-methylcytidine; 5mdC) stayed constant. According to our data, NNN could, via yet unknown mechanisms, play a role in the formation of N3mT as well as 5hmdC. In this study we have developed a new sensitive analytical method using CE-LIF for the simultaneous detection of the three DNA modifications, 5mdC, 5hmdC and N3mT.