Proteins are covalently trapped on DNA to form DNA-protein cross-links (DPCs) when cells are exposed to DNA-damaging agents. Aldehyde compounds produce common types of DPCs that contain proteins in an undisrupted DNA strand. Tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1 (TDP1) repairs topoisomerase 1 (TOPO1) that is trapped at the 3’-end of DNA. In the present study, we examined the contribution of TDP1 to the repair of formaldehyde-induced DPCs using a reverse genetic strategy with chicken DT40 cells. The results obtained showed that cells deficient in TDP1 were sensitive to formaldehyde. The removal of formaldehyde-induced DPCs was slower in tdp1-deficient cells than in wild type cells. We also found that formaldehyde did not produce trapped TOPO1, indicating that trapped TOPO1 was not a primary cytotoxic DNA lesion that was generated by formaldehyde and repaired by TDP1. The formaldehyde treatment resulted in the accumulation of chromosomal breakages that were more prominent in tdp1-deficient cells than in wild type cells. Therefore, TDP1 plays a critical role in the repair of formaldehyde-induced DPCs that are distinct from trapped TOPO1.
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