Lobachevsky, P. N. and Martin, R. F. Iodine-125 Decay in a Synthetic Oligodeoxynucleotide. II. The Role of Auger Electron Irradiation Compared to Charge Neutralization in DNA Breakage.
The dramatic chemical and biological effects of the decay of DNA-incorporated 125I stem from two consequences of the Auger electron cascades associated with the decay of the isotope: high local deposition of radiation energy from short-range Auger electrons, and neutralization of the multiply charged tellurium atom. We have analyzed the extensive data reported in the companion paper (Radiat. Res. 153, 000–000, 2000), in which DNA breakage was measured after 125I decay in a 41-bp oligoDNA. The experimental data collected under scavenging conditions (2 M dimethylsulfoxide) were deconvoluted into two components denoted as radiation and nonradiation, the former being attributed to energy deposition by Auger electrons. The contribution of the components was estimated by adopting various assumptions, the principal one being that DNA breakage due to the radiation mechanism is dependent on the distance between the decaying 125I atom and the cleaved deoxyribosyl unit, while the nonradiation mechanism, associated with neutralization of the multiply charged tellurium atom, contributes equally at corresponding nucleotides starting from the 125I-incorporating nucleotide. Comparison of the experimental data sets collected under scavenging and nonscavenging (without dimethylsulfoxide) conditions was used to estimate the radiation-scavengeable component. Our analysis showed that the nonradiation component plays the major role in causing breakage within 4–5 nucleotides from the site of 125I incorporation and produces about 50% of all single-stranded breaks. This overall result is consistent with the relative amounts of energy associated with Auger electrons and the charged tellurium atom. However, the nonradiation component accounts for almost four times more breaks in the top strand, to which the 125I is bound covalently, than in the bottom strand, thus suggesting an important role of covalent bonds in the energy transfer from the charged tellurium atom. The radiation component dominates at the distances beyond 8–9 nucleotides, and 36% of the radiation-induced breaks are scavengeable.