The hTdp1 (human tyrosyl-DNA phosphodiesterase 1) inhibitor NSC120686 has been used, along with topoisomerase inhibitors, as a pharmacophoric model to restrain the Tdp1 activity as part of a synergistic treatment for cancer. While this compound has an end-point application in medical research, in plants, its application has not been considered so far. The originality of our study consists in the use of hTdp1 inhibitor in Medicago truncatula cells, which, unlike human cells, contain two Tdp1 genes. Hence, the purpose of this study was to test the hTdp1 inhibitor NSC120686 as an exploratory tool to investigate the plant Tdp1 genes, since their characterization is still in incipient phases. To do so, M. truncatula calli were exposed to increasing (75, 150, 300 μM) concentrations of NSC120686. The levels of cell mortality and DNA damage, measured via diffusion assay and comet assay, respectively, were significantly increased when the highest doses were used, indicative of a cytotoxic and genotoxic threshold. In addition, the NSC120686-treated calli and untreated MtTdp1α-depleted calli shared a similar response in terms of programmed cell death (PCD)/necrosis and DNA damage. Interestingly, the expression profiles of MtTdp1α and MtTdp1β genes were differently affected by the NSC120686 treatment, as MtTdp1α was upregulated while MtTdp1β was downregulated. The NSC120686 treatment affected not only the MtTdp1 genes but also other genes with roles in alternative DNA repair pathways. Since the expression patterns of these genes were different than what was observed in the MtTdp1α-depleted plants, it could be hypothesized that the NSC120686 treatment exerts a different influence compared to that resulting from the lack of the MtTdp1α gene function.
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