We previously reported that fragments of exogenous double-stranded DNA can be internalized by mouse bone marrow cells without any transfection. Our present analysis shows that only 2% of bone marrow cells take up the fragments of extracellular exogenous DNA. Of these, ~45% of the cells correspond to CD34+ hematopoietic stem cells. Taking into account that CD34+ stem cells constituted 2.5% of the total cell population in the bone marrow samples analyzed, these data indicate that as much as 40% of CD34+ cells readily internalize fragments of extracellular exogenous DNA. This suggests that internalization of fragmented dsDNA is a general feature of poorly differentiated cells, in particular CD34+ bone marrow cells. When linearized plasmid DNA was used as a source of exogenous DNA, we observed that exonucleolytic processing and ligation of double-stranded DNA termini occurred in the bone marrow cells that had this DNA internalized. We also recovered "hybrid" plasmids that encompass kanamycin-resistance gene from the exogenous plasmid DNA and the fragments of plasmids from host enterobacteria, which is suggestive of recombination events taking place upon DNA internalization. CD34+ cells make up the distinctive bone marrow cell population that internalizes extracellular DNA. Cell cycle analysis of CD34+ cells treated with cyclophosphamide only or in combination with dsDNA, suggests that these cells have distinct biologic responses to these treatments. Namely, whereas upon cyclophosphamide treatment bone marrow stem cells become arrested at S-G2 phases, combined cyclophosphamide+dsDNA treatment leads to cell cycle progression without any delay. This indicates that when the genome is undergoing repair of interstrand crosslinks, injection of fragmented exogenous dsDNA results in immediate reconstitution of genome integrity. We observe that cyclophosphamide-only or a combined cyclophosphamide+dsDNA treatment of cells lead to two distinct waves of apoptosis in CD34+ progenitors. We also show that cyclophosphamide and cyclophosphamide+dsDNA injections promote division of CD34+ cells at distinct time periods.
Keywords: Apoptosis; BMCs; Bone marrow stem cells; CD34+; CP; Cell cycle; DSB; Double-stranded DNA; Enterobacteria; HSCs; ICL; bone marrow cells; cyclophosphamide; double-stranded DNA; double-stranded break; dsDNA; hematopoietic stem cells; interstrand cross-link.
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