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Enhanced MtDNA Repair Capacity Protects Pulmonary Artery Endothelial Cells From Oxidant-mediated Death

Allison W. Dobson, Valentina Grishko, Susan P. LeDoux, Mark R. Kelley, Glenn L. Wilson, Mark N. Gillespie

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In rat cultured pulmonary arterial (PA), microvascular, and venous endothelial cells (ECs), the rate of mitochondrial (mt) DNA repair is predictive of the severity of xanthine oxidase (XO)-induced mtDNA damage and the sensitivity to XO-mediated cell death. To examine the importance of mtDNA damage and repair more directly, we determined the impact of mitochondrial overexpression of the DNA repair enzyme, Ogg1, on XO-induced mtDNA damage and cell death in PAECs. PAECs were transiently transfected with an Ogg1-mitochondrial targeting sequence construct. Mitochondria-selective overexpression of the transgene product was confirmed microscopically by the observation that immunoreactive Ogg1 colocalized with a mitochondria-specific tracer and, with an oligonucleotide cleavage assay, by a selective enhancement of mitochondrial Ogg1 activity. Overexpression of Ogg1 protected against both XO-induced mtDNA damage, determined by quantitative Southern analysis, and cell death as assessed by trypan blue exclusion and MTS assays. These findings show that mtDNA damage is a direct cause of cell death in XO-treated PAECs.