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DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are toxic DNA lesions wherein a protein is covalently attached to DNA. If not rapidly repaired, DPCs create obstacles that disturb DNA replication, transcription and DNA damage repair, ultimately leading to genome instability. The persistence of DPCs is associated with premature ageing, cancer and neurodegeneration. In mammalian cells, the repair of DPCs mainly relies on the proteolytic activities of SPRTN and the 26S proteasome, complemented by other enzymes including TDP1/2 and the MRN complex, and many of the activities involved are essential, restricting genetic approaches. For many years, the study of DPC repair in mammalian cells was hindered by the lack of standardised assays, most notably assays that reliably quantified the proteins or proteolytic fragments covalently bound to DNA. Recent interest in the field has spurred the development of several biochemical methods for DPC analysis. Here, we critically analyse the latest techniques for DPC isolation and the benefits and drawbacks of each. We aim to assist researchers in selecting the most suitable isolation method for their experimental requirements and questions, and to facilitate the comparison of results across different laboratories using different approaches.

Original publication




Journal article


Nucleic Acids Res

Publication Date