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Human RecQ Helicases, Homologous Recombination And Genomic Instability

Date:
November 16, 2007
Source:
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Summary:
Two articles detail how human RecQ helicases regulate homologous recombination and protect genome stability. Taken together, these papers lend new insight into the molecular function of human RecQ helicases in protecting genome stability and preventing tumorigenesis.

The  human RecQ helicases regulate homologous recombination and protect genome stability.

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The human RecQ family of helicases consists of 5 members: WRN, BLM, RECQL4, RECQL1 and RECQL5. These enzymes help to unwind DNA so to facilitate replication, transcription and DNA repair. Mutations in BLM, WRN and RECQ4 cause the cancer-predisposition syndromes Bloom's Syndrome, Werner's Syndrome and Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome, respectively. Interestingly, these cancer-prone genetic conditions are associated with defects in the DNA repair pathway of homologous recombination (HR).

Two independent papers are published in the December 1st issue of Genes and Development on this topic.

Dr. Alexander Mazin (Drexel University College of Medicine) and colleagues focused their research on the function of the Bloom's syndrome helicase, BLM. They found that BLM has differential roles in regulating HR: depending upon the stage of its involvement, BLM can either promote or inhibit HR -- leading the authors to the surprising conclusion that the "combination of opposing activities gives BLM an important leverage in regulation of HR."

In a separate paper, Drs. Guangbin Luo (Case Western Reserve Univeristy) and Patrick Sung (Yale University School of Medicine) and their colleagues demonstrate that another member of the human RecQ family, RECQL5, can also interfere with HR, by disrupting a particular step (formation of the Rad51 presynaptic filament) in the pathway. Dr. Sung emphasizes that "These results elucidate hoe RECQL5 proetin helps avoid deleterious chromosome rearrangements that can cause tumorigenesis."

Taken together, these papers lend new insight into the molecular function of human RecQ helicases in protecting genome stability and preventing tumorigenesis.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Human RecQ Helicases, Homologous Recombination And Genomic Instability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121320.htm>.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. (2007, November 16). Human RecQ Helicases, Homologous Recombination And Genomic Instability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121320.htm
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Human RecQ Helicases, Homologous Recombination And Genomic Instability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071114121320.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

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