Journal of photochemistry and photobiology. B, Biology

UVA photoactivation of DNA containing halogenated thiopyrimidines induces cytotoxic DNA lesions.

PMID 25747491


Photochemotherapy, the combination of a photosensitiser and ultraviolet (UV) or visible light, is an effective treatment for skin conditions including cancer. The high mutagenicity and non-selectivity of photochemotherapy regimes warrants the development of alternative approaches. We demonstrate that the thiopyrimidine nucleosides 5-bromo-4-thiodeoxyuridine (SBrdU) and 5-iodo-4-thiodeoxyuridine (SIdU) are incorporated into the DNA of cultured human and mouse cells where they synergistically sensitise killing by low doses of UVA radiation. The DNA halothiopyrimidine/UVA combinations induce DNA interstrand crosslinks, DNA-protein crosslinks, DNA strand breaks, nucleobase damage and lesions that resemble UV-induced pyrimidine(6-4)pyrimidone photoproducts. These are potentially lethal DNA lesions and cells defective in their repair are hypersensitive to killing by SBrdU/UVA and SIdU/UVA. DNA SIdU and SBrdU generate lethal DNA photodamage by partially distinct mechanisms that reflect the different photolabilities of their C-I and C-Br bonds. Although singlet oxygen is involved in photolesion formation, DNA SBrdU and SIdU photoactivation does not detectably increase DNA 8-oxoguanine levels. The absence of significant collateral damage to normal guanine suggests that UVA activation of DNA SIdU or SBrdU might offer a strategy to target hyperproliferative skin conditions that avoids the extensive formation of a known mutagenic DNA lesion.