Ionizing radiation damage to DNA plays a fundamental role in cancer therapy. X-ray photoelectron-spectroscopy (XPS) allows simultaneous irradiation and damage monitoring. Although water radiolysis is essential for radiation damage, all previous XPS studies were performed in vacuum. Here we present near-ambient-pressure XPS xperiments to directly measure DNA damage under water atmosphere. They permit in-situ monitoring of the effects of radicals on fully hydrated double-stranded DNA. The results allow us to distinguish direct damage, by photons and secondary low-energy electrons (LEE), from damage by hydroxyl radicals or hydration induced modifications of damage pathways. The exposure of dry DNA to x-rays leads to strand-breaks at the sugar-phosphate backbone, while deoxyribose and nucleobases are less affected. In contrast, a strong increase of DNA damage is observed in water, where OH-radicals are produced. In consequence, base damage and base release become predominant, even though the number of strand-breaks increases further.
Xray photo electron spectrocopy
Dissociative electron attachment
500 Natural sciences and mathematics::540 Chemistry and allied sciences::541 Physical and theoretical chemistry
In situ monitoring of the influence of water on DNA radiation damage by near-ambient pressure X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy
Institut für Experimentalphysik
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)