Lehle S, Hildebrand DG, Merz B, Malak PN, Becker MS, Schmezer P, Essmann F, Schulze-Osthoff K, Rothfuss O
DNA damage is tightly associated with various biological and pathological processes, such as aging and tumorigenesis. Although detection of DNA damage is attracting increasing attention, only a limited number of methods are available to quantify DNA lesions, and these techniques are tedious or only detect global DNA damage. In this study, we present a high-sensitivity long-run real-time PCR technique for DNA-damage quantification (LORD-Q) in both the mitochondrial and nuclear genome. While most conventional methods are of low-sensitivity or restricted to abundant mitochondrial DNA samples, we established a protocol that enables the accurate sequence-specific quantification of DNA damage in >3-kb probes for any mitochondrial or nuclear DNA sequence. In order to validate the sensitivity of this method, we compared LORD-Q with a previously published qPCR-based method and the standard single-cell gel electrophoresis assay, demonstrating a superior performance of LORD-Q. Exemplarily, we monitored induction of DNA damage and repair processes in human induced pluripotent stem cells and isogenic fibroblasts. Our results suggest that LORD-Q provides a sequence-specific and precise method to quantify DNA damage, thereby allowing the high-throughput assessment of DNA repair, genotoxicity screening and various other processes for a wide range of life science applications.