In Situ Ligation: A Decade and a Half of Experience

Peter J. Hornsby, Vladimir V. Didenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

20 Scopus citations


The in situ ligation (ISL) methodology detects apoptotic cells by the presence of characteristic DNA double-strand breaks. A labeled double-stranded probe is ligated to the double-strand breaks in situ on tissue sections. Like the popular TUNEL assay, ISL detects cells in apoptosis based on the ongoing destruction of DNA by apoptotic nucleases. In comparison to TUNEL, it is more specific for apoptosis versus other causes of DNA damage, both repairable damage and necrosis. In the decade and a half since its introduction, ISL has been used in several hundred publications. Here we review the development of the method, its current status, and its uses and limitations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDNA Damage Detection In Situ, Ex Vivo, and In Vivo
Subtitle of host publicationMethods and Protocols
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9781603274081
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Apoptosis
  • ISL
  • ISOL
  • In situ assays
  • Nucleases
  • Pathophysiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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