The mechanism by which UV-C irradiation inactivates M13 bacteriophage was studied by analyzing the M13 genome using agarose gel electrophoresis and South-Western blotting for pyrimidine dimers. The involvement of singlet oxygen (1O2) was also investigated using azide and deuterium oxide and under deoxygenated conditions. With a decrease in M13 infectivity on irradiation, single-stranded circular genomic DNA (sc-DNA) was converted to Form I and Form II, which had an electrophoretic mobility between that of sc-DNA and linear-form DNA. However, the amount of sc-DNA remaining was not correlated with the survival of M13. The formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and pyrimidine (6–4) pyrimidone photoproducts ((6–4)PP) increased as a function of irradiation dose. The decrease in M13 infectivity was highly correlated with the increase in CPD and (6–4)PP, whereas no change was seen in M13 coat protein on sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. 8-Oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine did not form in the M13 genome after UV-C irradiation. Inactivation of M13 was neither enhanced by deuterium oxide nor inhibited by azide. Deoxygenation of the M13 suspension did not affect the inactivation, indicating that 1O2 did not participate in the inactivation of M13 by UV-C irradiation under these conditions. These results indicated that UV-C irradiation induced not only CPD and (6–4)PP formation but also additional tertiary structural change in DNA inside the M13 virions, resulting in primary damage and a loss of infectivity. The indirect effect of UV-C irradiation such as 1O2 production followed by oxidative damage to nucleic acids and proteins might have contributed less, if at all, to the inactivation of M13 than the direct effect of UV-C.
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Vol. 78 • No. 4