Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of histone H1 correlates with internucleosomal DNA fragmentation during apoptosis

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The biochemical role of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation on internucleosomal DNA fragmentation associated with apoptosis was investigated in HL 60 human premyelocytic leukemia cells. It was found that UV light and chemotherapeutic drugs including adriamycin, mitomycin C, and cisplatin increased poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of nuclear proteins, particularly histone H1. A poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor, 3-aminobenzamide, prevented both internucleosomal DNA fragmentation and histone H1 poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in cells treated with the apoptosis inducers, When nuclear chromatin was made accessible to the exogenous nuclease in a permeabilized cell system, chromatin of W-treated cells was more susceptible to micrococcal nuclease than the chromatin of control cells. Suppression of histone H1 poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation by 3-aminobenzamide reduced the micrococcal nuclease digestibility of internucleosomal chromatin in UV-treated cells, These results suggest that the poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of histone H1 correlates with the internucleosomal DNA fragmentation during apoptosis mediated by DNA damaging agents, This suggestion is supported by the finding that xeroderma pigmentosum cells which are defective in introducing incision at the site of DNA damage, failed to induce DNA fragmentation as well as histone H1 poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation after UV irradiation, We propose that poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation of histone H1 protein in the early stage of apoptosis facilitates internucleosomal DNA fragmentation by increasing the susceptibility of chromatin to cellular endonuclease.
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