Quantification of DNA damage induced repair focus formation via super-resolution dSTORM localization microscopy

Dániel Varga, Hajnalka Majoros, Zsuzsanna Ujfaludi, M. Erdélyi, Tibor Pankotai

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In eukaryotic cells, each process, in which DNA is involved, should take place in the context of a chromatin structure. DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are one of the most deleterious lesions often leading to chromosomal rearrangement. In response to environmental stresses, cells have developed repair mechanisms to eliminate the DSBs. Upon DSB induction, several factors play roles in chromatin relaxation by catalysing the appropriate histone posttranslational modification (PTM) steps, therefore promoting the access of the repair factors to the DSBs. Among these PTMs, the phosphorylation of the histone variant H2AX at its Ser139 residue (also known as γH2AX) could be observed at the break sites. The structure of a DNA double-strand break induced repair focus has to be organized during the repair as it contributes to the accessibility of specific repair proteins to the damaged site. Our aim was to develop a quantitative approach to analyse the morphology of single repair foci by super-resolution dSTORM microscopy to gain insight into chromatin organization in DNA repair. We have established a specific dSTORM measurement process by developing a new analytical algorithm for gaining quantitative information about chromatin morphology and repair foci topology at an individual γH2AX enriched repair focus. Using this method we quantified single repair foci to show the distribution of γH2AX. The image of individual γH2AX referred to as the Single target Molecule response scatter Plot (SMPlot) was obtained by using high lateral resolution dSTORM images. Determination of the average localization numbers in an SMPlot was one of the key steps of quantitative dSTORM. A repair focus is made up of nanofoci. Such a substructure of repair foci can only be resolved and detected with super-resolution microscopy. Determination of the number of γH2AXs in the nanofoci was another key step of quantitative dSTORM. Additionally, based on our new analysis method, we were able to show the number of nucleosomes in each nanofocus that could allow us to define the possible chromatin structure and the nucleosome density around the break sites. This method is one of the first demonstrations of a single-cell based quantitative measurement of a discrete repair focus, which could provide new opportunities to categorize the spatial organization of nanofoci by parametric determination of topological similarity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14226-14236
Number of pages11
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)

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