Topoisomerase II cleavage in chromatin

Andor Udvardyf, Paul Schedl, Miriam Sander, Tao shih Hsieh

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69 Scopus citations


We have (1) examined the effect of the anti-tumor drug VM-26 on purified Drosophila topoisomerase II, and (2) used this drug to map (putative) topoisomerase II cleavage sites in chromatin. These studies indicate that VM-26 interferes with the strand breakage-rejoining catalytic cycle. VM-26 appears to stabilize the topoisomerase-II-cleavable complex and markedly enhances the formation of double-strand breaks in naked DNA. VM-26 also stimulates the formation of double-strand breaks in isolated Drosophila nuclei. Analysis of the parameters of the VM-26-stimulated cleavage reaction in nuclei strongly suggests that the double-strand scissions are generated by endogenous topoisomerase II. Finally, we have examined the distribution of (putative) cleavage sites for endogenous topoisomerase II in the chromatin of the 87A7 heat shock locus and the histone repeat unit. We have found that there are prominent VM-26-induced cleavage products from the 5′ ends of the 87A7, the two heat shock protein 70 genes, and in the intergenic spacer separating these genes. Moreover, the pattern of VM-26-induced cleavage products is altered in nuclei prepared from heat-shocked cells. In the case of the histone repeat unit, only minor VM-26-induced cleavage products are observed in nuclei (in spite of the fact that experiments on naked DNA indicate that the histone repeat contains many major cleavage sites for purified topoisomerase II). These findings suggest that the nucleoprotein organization of different DNA segments may be important in determining whether specific sites are accessible to endogenous topoisomerase II in nuclei.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-246
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 20 1986

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


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