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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activation of a 15-kDa endonuclease in hypoxia/reoxygenation injury without morphologic features of apoptosis.

Hypoxia/reoxygenation is an important cause of tissue injury in a variety of organs and is classically considered to be a necrotic form of cell death. We examined the role of endonuclease activation, considered a characteristic feature of apoptosis, in hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. We demonstrate that subjecting rat renal proximal tubules to hypoxia/reoxygenation results in DNA strand breaks and DNA fragmentation (both by an in situ technique and by agarose gel electrophoresis), which precedes cell death. Hypoxia/reoxygenation resulted in an increase in DNA-degrading activity with an apparent molecular mass of 15 kDa on a substrate gel. This DNA-degrading activity was entirely calcium dependent and was blocked by the endonuclease inhibitor aurintricarboxylic acid. The protein extract from tubules subjected to hypoxia/reoxygenation cleaved intact nuclear DNA obtained from normal proximal tubules into small fragments, which further supports the presence of endonuclease activity. Despite unequivocal evidence of endonuclease activation, the morphologic features of apoptosis, including chromatin condensation, were not observed by light and electron microscopy. Endonuclease inhibitors, aurintricarboxylic acid and Evans blue, provided complete protection against DNA damage induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation but only partial protection against cell death. Taken together, our data provide strong evidence for a role of endonuclease activation as an early event, which is entirely responsible for the DNA damage and partially responsible for the cell death that occurs during hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. Our data also indicate that in hypoxia/reoxygenation injury endonuclease activation and DNA fragmentation occur without the morphological features of apoptosis.[1]


  1. Activation of a 15-kDa endonuclease in hypoxia/reoxygenation injury without morphologic features of apoptosis. Ueda, N., Walker, P.D., Hsu, S.M., Shah, S.V. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1995) [Pubmed]
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