Aldehyde dehydrogenase 3A1 confers oxidative stress resistance accompanied by altered DNA damage response in human corneal epithelial cells

Georgia Persephoni Voulgaridou, Ilias Tsochantaridis, Christos Tolkas, Rodrigo Franco, Alexandra Giatromanolaki, Mihalis I. Panayiotidis, Aglaia Pappa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Aldehyde dehydrogenase 3A1 is constitutively expressed in a taxon-specific manner in the cornea, where, due to its high abundance, it has been characterized as a corneal crystallin. ALDH3A1 has been proposed to be a multifaceted protein that protects cellular homeostasis through several modes of action. The present study examines the mechanisms by which ALDH3A1 exerts its cytoprotective role under conditions of oxidative stress. To this end, we have utilized an isogenic HCE-2 (human corneal epithelium) cell line pair differing in the expression of ALDH3A1. Single cell gel electrophoresis assay and H2DCFDA analysis revealed that the expression of ALDH3A1 protected HCE-2 cells from H2O2-, tert-butyl peroxide- and etoposide-induced oxidative and genotoxic effects. Furthermore, comparative qPCR analysis revealed that a panel of cell cycle (Cyclins B1, B2, D, E), apoptosis (p53, BAX, BCL-2, BCL-XL) and DNA damage response (DNA-PK, NBS1) genes were up-regulated in the ALDH3A1 expressing HCE-2 cells. Moreover, the expression profile of a variety of DNA damage signaling (DDS)-related genes, was investigated (under normal and oxidative stress conditions) by utilizing the RT2 profiler™ PCR array in both isogenic HCE-2 cell lines. Our results demonstrated that several genes associated with ATM/ATR signaling, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and DNA damage repair were differentially expressed under all conditions tested. In conclusion, this study suggests that ALDH3A1 significantly contributes to the antioxidant defense of corneal homeostasis by maintaining DNA integrity possibly through altering the expression of specific DDS-related genes. Further studies will shed light on the precise role(s) of this multifunctional protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-74
Number of pages9
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
StatePublished - Apr 2020


  • ALDH3A1
  • ALDHs
  • Aldehyde dehydrogenase 3A1
  • Antioxidant
  • Corneal homeostasis
  • DDR
  • DDS
  • DNA damage
  • DNA damage response
  • DNA damage signaling
  • Oxidative stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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