Nanomaterials induce DNA-protein crosslink and DNA oxidation: A mechanistic study with RTG-2 fish cell line and Comet assay modifications.
Genotoxic effects of nanomaterials (NMs) have been controversially reported in literature, and the mode of action (MoA) via DNA oxidation is cited as the main damage caused by them. Evidence of nano-silver as a crosslinker has been previously reported by the present research team in an in vivo fish genotoxicity study. Thus, aiming to confirm the evidence about NMs as crosslinker agent, the present investigation elucidated the genotoxic potential of NMs and their genotoxic MoA through in vitro assay with RTG-2 cells line (rainbow trout gonadal) by exposure to nano-silver (PVP-coated) and nano-titanium. The types and levels of DNA damage were assessed by the Comet assay (standard alkaline, hOGG1-modified alkaline, and two crosslink-modified alkaline versions). It was demonstrated that the use of the standard alkaline Comet assay alone may inaccurately predict the genotoxicity of NMs since oxidative and crosslink DNA damages were also verified in RTG-2 cells when assessed by the modified versions of the alkaline protocol. More importantly, it was confirmed that both nano-silver and nano-titanium acted as DNA-protein crosslinkers through the Comet assay version with proteinase K. As both nano-silver and nano-titanium present a great risk to aquatic life, these findings reinforce the need of genotoxicity testing strategies that encompass the assessment of different types of DNA damage, in order to ensure an accurate prediction of the genotoxic potential of NMs.