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Fanconi Anemia: Genetic disease breakthrough announced

Date:
January 12, 2016
Source:
Institute for Systems Biology
Summary:
A team of investigators has established the cause of a rare syndrome consistent with Fanconi Anemia, a chromosome instability disorder which is clinically typified by birth defects, bone marrow failure, leukemia, and susceptibility to solid tumors.
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A team of investigators based in Seattle, Amsterdam, and Luxembourg, has established the cause of a rare syndrome consistent with Fanconi Anemia, a chromosome instability disorder which is clinically typified by birth defects, bone marrow failure, leukemia, and susceptibility to solid tumors. The results were reported by researchers from the Institute for Systems Biology (Seattle), the Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam, and the Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine and several other institutions in the United States and Europe in the journal Nature Communications.

Using advanced whole genome sequencing in combination with other cell and molecular biology techniques, a mutation in the RAD51 gene was found in an affected child, but not in his parents or his healthy sister. The particular mutation observed in this patient is surprising for two reasons. First, it affects only one of the two RAD51 gene copies in the patient, suggesting a novel origin for the mutation in this patient. More typically, mutations that lead to Fanconi Anemia are derived from both parents (and thus show recessive inheritance). Second, even though only one of the two copies of the patient's RAD51 gene is affected, the protein product that carries the mutation interferes with the activity of the normal protein which is to repair damage to DNA. Thus the mutation is dominant and acts in a negative way, to impede DNA repair.

This finding has implications for genetic counseling of families facing Fanconi Anemia. Furthermore, understanding the mechanism of action of this mutation shows how the RAD51 protein protects the DNA and how disruptions of DNA repair may lead to birth defects, leukemia and solid tumors. Understanding the origins of human cancer will help diagnose it earlier and may help us devise new therapies to prevent or mitigate it.

This work was organized and sponsored by collaborations between the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle (USA) with the Luxembourg Center for Systems Biomedicine (Luxembourg), the Free University Medical Center in Amsterdam (The Netherlands) with the assistance of several other institutions or universities in Europe and the United States.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Institute for Systems Biology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Najim Ameziane, Patrick May, Anneke Haitjema, Henri J. van de Vrugt, Sari E. van Rossum-Fikkert, Dejan Ristic, Gareth J. Williams, Jesper Balk, Davy Rockx, Hong Li, Martin A. Rooimans, Anneke B. Oostra, Eunike Velleuer, Ralf Dietrich, Onno B. Bleijerveld, A. F. Maarten Altelaar, Hanne Meijers-Heijboer, Hans Joenje, Gustavo Glusman, Jared Roach, Leroy Hood, David Galas, Claire Wyman, Rudi Balling, Johan den Dunnen, Johan P. de Winter, Roland Kanaar, Richard Gelinas, Josephine C. Dorsman. A novel Fanconi anaemia subtype associated with a dominant-negative mutation in RAD51. Nature Communications, 2015; 6: 8829 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms9829

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Institute for Systems Biology. "Fanconi Anemia: Genetic disease breakthrough announced." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160112125727.htm>.
Institute for Systems Biology. (2016, January 12). Fanconi Anemia: Genetic disease breakthrough announced. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 24, 2016 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160112125727.htm
Institute for Systems Biology. "Fanconi Anemia: Genetic disease breakthrough announced." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160112125727.htm (accessed August 24, 2016).

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