ZJ Liu, S Martínez Cuesta, P van Delft, S Balasubramanian
In DNA, the loss of a nucleobase by hydrolysis generates an abasic site. Formed as a result of DNA damage, as well as a key intermediate during the base excision repair pathway, abasic sites are frequent DNA lesions that can lead to mutations and strand breaks. Here we present snAP-seq, a chemical approach that selectively exploits the reactive aldehyde moiety at abasic sites to reveal their location within DNA at single-nucleotide resolution. Importantly, the approach resolves abasic sites from other aldehyde functionalities known to exist in genomic DNA. snAP-seq was validated on synthetic DNA and then applied to two separate genomes. We studied the distribution of thymine modifications in the Leishmania major genome by enzymatically converting these modifications into abasic sites followed by abasic site mapping. We also applied snAP-seq directly to HeLa DNA to provide a map of endogenous abasic sites in the human genome.