Next-generation DNA damage sequencing
Cellular DNA is constantly chemically altered by exogenous and endogenous agents. As all processes of life depend on the transmission of the genetic information, multiple biological processes exist to ensure genome integrity. Chemically damaged DNA has been linked to cancer and aging, therefore it is of great interest to map DNA damage formation and repair to elucidate the distribution of damage on a genome-wide scale. While the low abundance and inability to enzymatically amplify DNA damage are obstacles to genome-wide sequencing, new developments in the last few years have enabled high-resolution mapping of damaged bases. Recently, a number of DNA damage sequencing library construction strategies coupled to new data analysis pipelines allowed the mapping of specific DNA damage formation and repair at high and single nucleotide resolution. Strikingly, these advancements revealed that the distribution of DNA damage is heavily influenced by chromatin states and the binding of transcription factors. In the last seven years, these novel approaches have revealed new genomic maps of DNA damage distribution in a variety of organisms as generated by diverse chemical and physical DNA insults; oxidative stress, chemotherapeutic drugs, environmental pollutants, and sun exposure. Preferred sequences for damage formation and repair have been elucidated, thus making it possible to identify persistent weak spots in the genome as locations predicted to be vulnerable for mutation. As such, sequencing DNA damage will have an immense impact on our ability to elucidate mechanisms of disease initiation, and to evaluate and predict the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Nucleic Acids