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The live cell DNA stain SiR-Hoechst induces DNA damage responses and impairs cell cycle progression

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Onur Sen, Professor Jonathan HigginsORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


SiR-Hoechst (SiR-DNA) is a far-red fluorescent DNA probe being used widely for time-lapse imaging of living cells that is reported to be minimally toxic at concentrations as high as 10 - 25 µM. However, measuring nuclear import of Cyclin B1, inhibition of mitotic entry, and the induction of gH2AX foci in cultured human cells reveals that SiR-Hoechst induces DNA damage responses and G2 arrest at concentrations well below 1 µM. SiR-Hoechst is useful for live cell imaging, but it should be used with caution and at the lowest practicable concentration.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sen O, Saurin AT, Higgins JMG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Scientific Reports

Year: 2018

Volume: 8

Online publication date: 21/05/2018

Acceptance date: 09/05/2018

Date deposited: 09/05/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2045-2322

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-26307-6


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Funder referenceFunder name
Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award
Wellcome Trust Investigator Award