Brief exposure of covalently closed circular duplex PM2 DNA to low concentrations of the clinical bleomycin mixture (Blenoxane) resulted in specific fragmentation of the genome that does not depend on the presence of superhelical turns. The double-strand breaks are in fact produced at several discrete sites on the PM2 genome but frequently occurring near the Hpa II restriction endonuclease cleavage site. Initial rates of formation of nicked circular and linear duplex PM2 DNAs are reduced to different extents as the ionic strength of the reaction is increased. Increasing ionic strength is most effective in reducing the initial rate and overall yield of apparent double-strand scissions compared with single-strand scissions in the bleomycin-treated PM2 DNA.
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