The centromere as a target for the induction of chromosome damage in resting and proliferating mammalian cells: Assessment of mitomycin C-induced genetic damage at kinetochores and centromeres by a micronucleus test in mouse splenocytes

Luigina Renzi, Francesca Pacchierotti, Antonella Russo

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The cytokinesis-block micronucleus assay (MN) on murine splenocytes was used for the estimation of chromosome damage in a resting cell population in vivo that can be induced to proliferate in vitro. Mitomycin C at different doses (10-8, 6×10-8, 10-7, 6×10-7and 10-6M) was used to induce cytogenetic damage in resting and cycling splenocytes. Antikinetochore antibodies (CREST) and two-colour fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with minor and major satellite DNA were applied. These approaches allowed the detailed characterization of the mechanisms by which MN originates, since it was possible to identify breaks induced in pericentric heterochromatin (resulting in MN containing the major but not the minor satellite DNA) or detachment/disruption of kinetochore (resulting in different frequencies of MN containing kinetochore or both probes). Based on the evidence that resting and cycling mouse splenocytes are characterized by different spatial distribution of centromeric regions, the hypothesis was tested that the damage induced by mutagens at centromeres is influenced by the phase of the cell cycle in which the cells are treated. Data presented here show that resting and cycling splenocytes are both sensitive to mitomycin C action, and indicate that this compound has an aneugenic potential, besides its strong clastogenic activity. In particular, results obtained after CREST and FISH characterization of MN differed when cells were treated during proliferation, suggesting a disruption/detachment of kinetochores induced by mitomycin C at this cell stage. Furthermore, under the same treatment condition the proportion of MN containing the major satellite DNA only was greater than expected on the basis of random breakage at this site. Treatment of resting cells produced aneugenic damage, but without evidence of disruption/detachment of kinetochores or preferential breakage at the centromere. These results indicate that the amount and type of chromosome damage induced by mitomycin C in mouse splenocytes differ in relation to the proliferative status of treated cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133 - 138
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Toxicology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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