• Unbalanced R-loops and micronuclei induced by DNA topoisomerase I poisons in cancer cells
  • Duardo, Renee Concetta <1994>


  • BIO/11 Biologia molecolare


  • Topoisomerase I (Top1) poisons are among the most clinically-effective drugs used for colon, ovary and lung cancers. Unpublished data from our lab have recently revealed that the structurally-unrelated Top1 poisons, Camptothecin (CPT) and Indimitecan (LMP776), induce the formation of micronuclei (MNi) in human cancer cells. In addition, MNi trigger an innate immune gene response by stimulating the cGAS/STING pathway. As the mechanisms of MNi formation are not fully determined, our aim is here to establish how MNi form after Top1 poisoning. Using immunofluorescence assays and EdU labelling of nascent DNAs, our results show that, after 24 hours of recovery, a short treatment with sub-cytotoxic doses of Top1 poisons induces the formation of MNi that do not contain newly synthetized (EdU+) DNA. We also saw that Top1 poisons delay replication machinery reducing EdU incorporation and produce significant levels of the damage markers γH2AX and p53BP1 in S-phase cells but not in G1 and G2/M cells. The results also show that MNi formation is dependent on R-loops, as RNaseH1 overexpression markedly reduces Top1 induced MNi. Genome-wide mapping of R-loops by DRIP-seq technique revealed that R-loop levels are both decreased and increased by CPT. In particular, increased R-loops are mainly found at active genes and always overlapped with Top1cc sites. We also found that increased R-loops overlap with lamina-associated chromatin domains while decreased R-loops correlate with replication origin sites. Overall, our data are consistent with the formation of MNi due to R-loop increase and under-replication at specific regions caused by Top1 poisons. These results will eventually help in developing new strategies for effective personalized interventions by using Top1-targeted compounds as immuno-modulators in cancer patients.


  • 2022-06-20
  • info:eu-repo/date/embargoEnd/2023-12-31


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Duardo, Renee Concetta (2022) Unbalanced R-loops and micronuclei induced by DNA topoisomerase I poisons in cancer cells, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biologia cellulare e molecolare , 34 Ciclo.