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Investigating DNA Radiation Damage Using X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Thomas Penfold



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


The biological influence of radiation on living matter has been studied for years; however, several questions about the detailed mechanism of radiation damage formation remain largely unanswered. Among all biomolecules exposed to radiation, DNA plays an important role because any damage to its molecular structure can affect the whole cell and may lead to chromosomal rearrangements resulting in genomic instability or cell death. To identify and characterize damage induced in the DNA sugar-phosphate backbone, in this work we performed x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the P K-edge on DNA irradiated with either UVA light or protons. By combining the experimental results with theoretical calculations, we were able to establish the types and relative ratio of lesions produced by both UVA and protons around the phosphorus atoms in DNA.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Czapla-Masztafiak J, Szlachetko J, Milne CJ, Lipiec E, Sa J, Penfold TJ, Huthwelker T, Borca C, Abela R, Kwiatek WM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biophysical Journal

Year: 2016

Volume: 110

Issue: 6

Pages: 1304–1311

Print publication date: 29/03/2016

Online publication date: 29/03/2016

Acceptance date: 27/01/2016

Date deposited: 01/04/2016

ISSN (print): 0006-3495

ISSN (electronic): 1542-0086

Publisher: Cell Press


DOI: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.01.031


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Funder referenceFunder name
290605European Community's Seventh Framework Program (FP7)