Sunilkumar Sukumaran, Ayyappan Nair, Madhuri Subbiah, Gunja Gupta, Lakshmi Rajakrishna, Pradeep Savanoor Raghavendra, Subbulakshmi Karthikeyan, Salini Krishnan Unni and Ganesh Sambasivam
Genotoxicity is defined as DNA damage that leads to gene mutations which can become tumorigenic. Genotoxicity testing is important to ensure drug safety and is mandatory prior to Phase I/II clinical trials of new drugs. The results from genetic toxicology studies help to identify hazardous drugs and environmental genotoxins. Currently, among others there are four tests recommended by regulatory authorities (Ames test-bacterial, chromosome aberrations; in vitro gene mutation-eukaryotic cells and in vivo test). These assays are laborious, time consuming, require large quantities of test compounds and limited by throughput challenges. The site and mechanism of genotoxicity are not revealed by these assays and data obtained from bacterial tests might not translate the same in mammals. To address these we have developed a novel, versatile, human cell based, high throughput, reporter based genotoxicity screen (Anthemâ€™s Genotox screen). This screen is performed on genetically engineered human cell lines that express 3 reporter genes under transcriptional control of â€˜early DNA damage sensorsâ€™ (p53, p21 and GADD153). These genes are involved in DNA repair, cell cycle arrest and/or apoptosis. p21 and GADD are also known to be induced in a p53 independent manner. p53 blocks G1/S transition of cell cycle while the p53 independent DNA damage block G2/M transition. Identification of the mechanism of genotoxicity helps in rational drug designing. Additionally, the platform can be used to screen other potential genotoxins from cosmetics, food and environment. Initial validation studies of the Genotox screen was performed with over 60 compounds chosen from a variety of chemical classes. The genotoxic potential of metabolites was tested using rat liver S9 fractions. The results demonstrated a sensitivity of 86.7â€“92.3% and a specificity of 70â€“78.6% when compared with currently available in vitro genotoxicity assays. This Genotox screen would prove to be an invaluable human cell based tool to weed out potential genotoxins in various industries.