GeneReviews Sanz MM, German J. Bloom's Syndrome. 2006 Mar 22 [Updated 2013 Mar 28]. In: Pagon RA, Adam MP, Ardinger HH, et al., editors. GeneReviews® [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2014.
BACKGROUND: Since 2006, the genetic testing company 23andMe has collected biological samples, self-reported information, and consent documents for biobanking and research from more than 1,000,000 individuals (90% participating in research), through a direct-to-consumer (DTC) online genetic-testing service providing a genetic ancestry report and a genetic health report. However, on November 22, 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) halted the sale of genetic health testing, on the grounds that 23andMe was not acting in accordance with federal law, by selling tests of undemonstrated reliability as predictive tests for medical risk factors. Consumers could still obtain the genetic ancestry report, but they no longer had access to the genetic health report in the United States (US). However, this did not prevent the company from continuing its health research, with previously obtained and future samples, provided that consent had been obtained from the consumers concerned, or with health reports for individuals from other countries. Furthermore, 23andMe was granted FDA authorization on February 19, 2015, first to provide reports about Bloom syndrome carrier status, and, more recently, to provide consumers with "carrier status" information for 35 genes known (with high levels of confidence) to cause disease. DISCUSSION: In this Debate, we highlight the likelihood that the primary objective of the company was probably two-fold: promoting itself within the market for predictive testing for human genetic diseases and ancestry at a low cost to consumers, and establishing a high-value database/biobank for research (one of the largest biobanks of human deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and personal information). By dint of this marketing approach, a two-sided market has been established between the consumer and the research laboratories, involving the establishment of a database/DNA biobank for scientific and financial gain. We describe here the profound ethical issues raised by this setup.
Jian-Bing W, Cheng-Rang L, Yi-Ping M, et al. A case of Bloom syndrome with uncommon clinical manifestations confirmed on genetic testing. Cutis. 2016; 97(2):E10-3 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bloom syndrome, a rare autosomal-recessive disorder, characteristically presents with photosensitivity, telangiectatic facial erythema, and growth deficiency. We present a case of Bloom syndrome with uncommon clinical manifestations including alopecia areata, eyebrow hair loss, flat nose, reticular pigmentation, and short sharpened distal phalanges with fingernails that were wider than they were long. We detected the Bloom syndrome gene, BLM, which is one of the members of the RecQ family of DNA helicases, and found changes in 2 heterozygous nucleotide sites in the patient as well as her father and mother.
Chromosome instability usually leads to tumorigenesis. Bloom syndrome (BS) is a genetic disease associated with chromosome instability. The BS gene product, BLM, has been reported to function in the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC) to prevent chromosome instability. BTR complex, composed of BLM, topoisomerase IIIα (Topo IIIα), RMI1 (RecQ-mediated genome instability protein 1, BLAP75) and RMI2 (RecQ-mediated genome instability protein 2, BLAP18), is crucial for maintaining genome stability. Recent work has demonstrated that RMI2 also plays critical role in SAC. However, little is know about RMI1 regulation during the cell cycle. Here we present that RMI1 protein level does not change through G1, S and G2 phases, but significantly increases in M phase. Moreover, phosphorylation of RMI1 occurs in mitosis. Upon microtubule-disturbing agent, RMI1 is phosphorylated primarily at the sites of Serine 284 and Serine 292, which does not interfere with the formation of BTR complex. Additionally, this phosphorylation is partially reversed by roscovitine treatment, implying cycling-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) might be one of the upstream kinases.
Delaney SK, Christman MF Direct-to-consumer genetic testing: Perspectives on its value in healthcare. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 2016; 99(2):146-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The direct-to-consumer genetic testing debate reached a fever pitch in November 2013 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) instructed 23andMe to discontinue marketing and sale of their Personal Genome Service. In 2015, 23andMe emerged with FDA approval to market a carrier test for Bloom syndrome only, and plans to release additional reports. The dust has settled and it is time to ask: What have we learned, and where do we go from here?
BACKGROUND: Putative G-quadruplex-forming sequences (PQS) have long been implicated in regulation of transcription, though the actual mechanisms are not well understood. One proposed mechanism involves the activity of PQS-specific helicases belonging to the RecQ helicase family. However, patterns of PQS that correlate with transcriptional sensitivity to RecQ helicases are not well studied, and no adequate transcriptional model exists to account for PQS effects. METHODS: To better understand PQS transcriptional effects, we analyze PQS motifs in genes differentially-transcribed in Bloom Syndrome (BS) and Werner Syndrome (WS), two disorders resulting in loss of PQS-interacting RecQ helicases. We also correlate PQS genome-wide with transcription in multiple human cells lines while controlling for epigenetic status. Finally, we perform neural network clustering of PQS motifs to assess whether certain motifs are over-represented in genes sensitive to RecQ helicase loss. RESULTS: By analyzing PQS motifs in promoters of genes differentially-transcribed in BS and WS, we demonstrate that abundance of promoter PQS is generally higher in down-regulated genes and lower in up-regulated genes, and show that these effects are position-dependent. To interpret these correlations we determined genome-wide PQS correlations with transcription while controlling for epigenetic status. Our results identify multiple discrete transcription start site-proximal positions where PQS are correlated with either increased or decreased transcription. Finally, we report neural network clustering analysis of PQS motifs demonstrating that genes differentially-expressed in BS and WS are significantly biased in PQS motif composition. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings unveil unappreciated detail in the relationship between PQS, RecQ helicases, and transcription. We show that promoter PQS are generally correlated with reduced gene expression, and that this effect is relieved by RecQ helicases. We also show that PQS at certain positions on the downstream sense strand are correlated with increased transcription. We therefore propose a new transcriptional model in which promoter PQS have at least two distinct types of transcriptional regulatory effects.
Gemble S, Ahuja A, Buhagiar-Labarchède G, et al. Pyrimidine Pool Disequilibrium Induced by a Cytidine Deaminase Deficiency Inhibits PARP-1 Activity, Leading to the Under Replication of DNA. PLoS Genet. 2015; 11(7):e1005384 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
Genome stability is jeopardized by imbalances of the dNTP pool; such imbalances affect the rate of fork progression. For example, cytidine deaminase (CDA) deficiency leads to an excess of dCTP, slowing the replication fork. We describe here a novel mechanism by which pyrimidine pool disequilibrium compromises the completion of replication and chromosome segregation: the intracellular accumulation of dCTP inhibits PARP-1 activity. CDA deficiency results in incomplete DNA replication when cells enter mitosis, leading to the formation of ultrafine anaphase bridges between sister-chromatids at "difficult-to-replicate" sites such as centromeres and fragile sites. Using molecular combing, electron microscopy and a sensitive assay involving cell imaging to quantify steady-state PAR levels, we found that DNA replication was unsuccessful due to the partial inhibition of basal PARP-1 activity, rather than slower fork speed. The stimulation of PARP-1 activity in CDA-deficient cells restores replication and, thus, chromosome segregation. Moreover, increasing intracellular dCTP levels generates under-replication-induced sister-chromatid bridges as efficiently as PARP-1 knockdown. These results have direct implications for Bloom syndrome (BS), a rare genetic disease combining susceptibility to cancer and genomic instability. BS results from mutation of the BLM gene, encoding BLM, a RecQ 3'-5' DNA helicase, a deficiency of which leads to CDA downregulation. BS cells thus have a CDA defect, resulting in a high frequency of ultrafine anaphase bridges due entirely to dCTP-dependent PARP-1 inhibition and independent of BLM status. Our study describes previously unknown pathological consequences of the distortion of dNTP pools and reveals an unexpected role for PARP-1 in preventing DNA under-replication and chromosome segregation defects.
Although disruption of DNA repair capacity is unquestionably associated with cancer susceptibility in humans and model organisms, it remains unclear if the inherent tumor phenotypes of DNA repair deficiency syndromes can be regulated by manipulating DNA repair pathways. Loss-of-function mutations in BLM, a member of the RecQ helicase family, cause Bloom's syndrome (BS), a rare, recessive genetic disorder that predisposes to many types of cancer. BLM functions in many aspects of DNA homeostasis, including the suppression of homologous recombination (HR) in somatic cells. We investigated whether BLM overexpression, in contrast with loss-of-function mutations, attenuated the intestinal tumor phenotypes of Apc(Min/+) and Apc(Min/+);Msh2(-/-) mice, animal models of familial adenomatous polyposis coli (FAP). We constructed a transgenic mouse line expressing human BLM (BLM-Tg) and crossed it onto both backgrounds. BLM-Tg decreased adenoma incidence in a dose-dependent manner in our Apc(Min/) (+) model of FAP, although levels of GIN were unaffected and concomitantly increased animal survival over 50%. It did not reduce intestinal tumorigenesis in Apc(Min/) (+);Msh2(-/-) mice. We used the pink-eyed unstable (p(un)) mouse model to demonstrate that increasing BLM dosage in vivo lowered endogenous levels of HR by 2-fold. Our data suggest that attenuation of the Min phenotype is achieved through a direct effect of BLM-Tg on the HR repair pathway. These findings demonstrate that HR can be manipulated in vivo to modulate tumor formation at the organismal level. Our data suggest that lowering HR frequencies may have positive therapeutic outcomes in the context of specific hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes, exemplified by FAP.
The growing diversity of heritable skin diseases, a practical challenge to clinicians and dermato-nosologists alike, has nonetheless served as a rich source of insight into skin biology and disease mechanisms. I summarize below some key insights from the recent gene-driven phase of research on Werner syndrome, a heritable adult progeroid syndrome with prominent dermatologic features, constitutional genomic instability, and an elevated risk of cancer. I also indicate how new insights into skin biology, disease, and aging may come from unexpected sources.
Biallelic mutations in BLM cause Bloom syndrome (BS), a genome instability disorder characterized by growth retardation, sun sensitivity and a predisposition to cancer. As evidence of decreased genome stability, BS cells demonstrate not only elevated levels of spontaneous sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs), but also exhibit chromosomal radial formation. The molecular nature and mechanism of radial formation is not known, but radials have been thought to be DNA recombination intermediates between homologs that failed to resolve. However, we find that radials in BS cells occur over 95% between non-homologous chromosomes, and occur non-randomly throughout the genome. BLM must be phosphorylated at T99 and T122 for certain cell cycle checkpoints, but it is not known whether these modifications are necessary to suppress radial formation. We find that exogenous BLM constructs preventing phosphorylation at T99 and T122 are not able to suppress radial formation in BS cells, but are able to inhibit SCE formation. These findings indicate that BLM functions in 2 distinct pathways requiring different modifications. In one pathway, for which the phosphorylation marks appear dispensable, BLM functions to suppress SCE formation. In a second pathway, T99 and T122 phosphorylations are essential for suppression of chromosomal radial formation, both those formed spontaneously and those formed following interstrand crosslink damage.
Bloom syndrome is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the RecQ family helicase BLM that is associated with growth retardation and predisposition to cancer. BLM helicase has a high specificity for non-canonical G-quadruplex (G4) DNA structures, which are formed by G-rich DNA strands and play an important role in the maintenance of genomic integrity. Here we used single-molecule FRET to define the mechanism of interaction of BLM helicase with intra-stranded G4 structures. We show that the activity of BLM is substrate dependent, and highly regulated by a short-strand DNA (ssDNA) segment that separates the G4 motif from double-stranded DNA. We demonstrate cooperativity between the RQC and HRDC domains of BLM during binding and unfolding of the G4 structure, where the RQC domain interaction with G4 is stabilized by HRDC binding to ssDNA. We present a model that proposes a unique role for G4 structures in modulating the activity of DNA processing enzymes.
Aslan D The X chromosome: does it have a role in Bloom syndrome, a genomic instability disorder? Turk J Pediatr. 2014 May-Jun; 56(3):327-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Bloom syndrome, caused by mutations in a single gene [BLM (15q26.1)], is a rare genomic instability syndrome. Despite its autosomal recessive transmission, it shows a male dominance, suggesting the possibility of a subgroup with X-linked recessive inheritance. In view of the latest molecular developments achieved in the other genomic instability syndromes, the potential functions of the X chromosome in maintaining genomic stability, and particularly, the first clues of Bloom syndrome development by mechanisms other than the BLM, we suggest herein that the X chromosome should be investigated in Bloom syndrome.
Ben Salah G, Hadj Salem I, Masmoudi A, et al. A novel frameshift mutation in BLM gene associated with high sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) in heterozygous family members. Mol Biol Rep. 2014; 41(11):7373-80 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Bloom syndrome (BS) is an autosomic recessive disorder comprising a wide range of abnormalities, including stunted growth, immunodeficiency, sun sensitivity and increased frequency of various types of cancer. Bloom syndrome cells display a high level of genetic instability, including a 10-fold increase in the sister chromatid exchanges (SCE) level. Bloom syndrome arises through mutations in both alleles of the BLM gene, which was identified as a member of the RecQ helicase family. In this study, we screened a Tunisian family with three BS patients. Cytogenetic analysis showed several chromosomal aberrations, and an approximately 14-fold elevated SCE frequency in BS cells. A significant increase in SCE frequency was observed in some family members but not reaching the BS patients values, leading to suggest that this could be due to the heterozygous profile. Microsatellite genotyping using four fluorescent dye-labeled microsatellite markers revealed evidence of linkage to BLM locus and the healthy members, sharing higher SCE frequency, showed heterozygous haplotypes as expected. Additionally, the direct BLM gene sequencing identified a novel homozygous frameshift mutation c.3617-3619delAA (p.K1207fsX9) in BS patients and a heterozygous BLM mutation in the family members with higher SCE frequency. Our findings suggest that this latter mutation likely leads to a reduced BLM activity explaining the homologous recombination repair defect and, therefore, the increase in SCE. Based on the present data, the screening of this mutation could contribute to the rapid diagnosis of BS. The genetic confirmation of the mutation in BLM gene provides crucial information for genetic counseling and prenatal diagnosis.
Bloom syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by genetic instability and cancer predisposition, and caused by mutations in the gene encoding the Bloom syndrome, RecQ helicase-like (BLM) protein. To determine whether altered gene expression might be responsible for pathological features of Bloom syndrome, we analyzed mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression in fibroblasts from individuals with Bloom syndrome and in BLM-depleted control fibroblasts. We identified mRNA and miRNA expression differences in Bloom syndrome patient and BLM-depleted cells. Differentially expressed mRNAs are connected with cell proliferation, survival, and molecular mechanisms of cancer, and differentially expressed miRNAs target genes involved in cancer and in immune function. These and additional altered functions or pathways may contribute to the proportional dwarfism, elevated cancer risk, immune dysfunction, and other features observed in Bloom syndrome individuals. BLM binds to G-quadruplex (G4) DNA, and G4 motifs were enriched at transcription start sites (TSS) and especially within first introns (false discovery rate ≤ 0.001) of differentially expressed mRNAs in Bloom syndrome compared with normal cells, suggesting that G-quadruplex structures formed at these motifs are physiologic targets for BLM. These results identify a network of mRNAs and miRNAs that may drive the pathogenesis of Bloom syndrome.
Swan MK, Legris V, Tanner A, et al. Structure of human Bloom's syndrome helicase in complex with ADP and duplex DNA. Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 2014; 70(Pt 5):1465-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bloom's syndrome is an autosomal recessive genome-instability disorder associated with a predisposition to cancer, premature aging and developmental abnormalities. It is caused by mutations that inactivate the DNA helicase activity of the BLM protein or nullify protein expression. The BLM helicase has been implicated in the alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT) pathway, which is essential for the limitless replication of some cancer cells. This pathway is used by 10-15% of cancers, where inhibitors of BLM are expected to facilitate telomere shortening, leading to apoptosis or senescence. Here, the crystal structure of the human BLM helicase in complex with ADP and a 3'-overhang DNA duplex is reported. In addition to the helicase core, the BLM construct used for crystallization (residues 640-1298) includes the RecQ C-terminal (RQC) and the helicase and ribonuclease D C-terminal (HRDC) domains. Analysis of the structure provides detailed information on the interactions of the protein with DNA and helps to explain the mechanism coupling ATP hydrolysis and DNA unwinding. In addition, mapping of the missense mutations onto the structure provides insights into the molecular basis of Bloom's syndrome.
Bloom Syndrome (BS, MIM #210900) is an autosomal recessive genetic disorder caused by a mutation in the BLM gene, which codes for the DNA repair enzyme RecQL3 helicase. Without proper DNA repair mechanisms, abnormal DNA exchange takes place between sister chromatids and results in genetic instability that may lead to cancer, especially lymphoma and acute myelogenous leukemia, lower and upper gastrointestinal tract neoplasias, cutaneous tumors, and neoplasias in the genitalia and urinary tract. BS patients are usually of Ashkenazi Jewish descent and exhibit narrow facial features, elongated limbs, and several dermatologic complications including photosensitivity, poikiloderma, and telangiectatic erythema. The most concerning manifestation of BS is multiple malignancies, which require frequent screenings and strict vigilance by the physician. Therefore, distinguishing between BS and other dermatologic syndromes of similar presentation such as Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome, Erythropoietic Protoporphyria, and Cockayne Syndrome is paramount to disease management and to prolonging life. BS can be diagnosed through a variety of DNA sequencing methods, and genetic testing is available for high-risk populations. This review consolidates several sources on BS sequelae and aims to suggest the importance of differentiating BS from other dermatologic conditions. This paper also elucidates the recently discovered BRAFT and FANCM protein complexes that link BS and Fanconi anemia.
Iqbal MA, Siddiqui FA, Chaman N, et al. Missense mutations in pyruvate kinase M2 promote cancer metabolism, oxidative endurance, anchorage independence, and tumor growth in a dominant negative manner. J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(12):8098-105 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
The present study was designed to examine the functional relevance of two heterozygous mutations (H391Y and K422R), observed earlier by us in the Bloom syndrome condition. Cells stably expressing exogenous wild-type or mutant PKM2 (K422R or H391Y) or co-expressing both wild type and mutant (PKM2-K422R or PKM2-H391Y) were assessed for cancer metabolism and tumorigenic potential. Interestingly, cells co-expressing PKM2 and mutant (K422R or H391Y) showed significantly aggressive cancer metabolism as compared with cells expressing either wild-type or mutant PKM2 independently. A similar trend was observed for oxidative endurance, tumorigenic potential, cellular proliferation, and tumor growth. These observations signify the dominant negative nature of mutations. Remarkably, PKM2-H391Y co-expressed cells showed a maximal effect on all the studied parameters. Such a dominant negative impaired function of PKM2 in tumor development is not known; this study demonstrates for the first time the possible predisposition of Bloom syndrome patients with impaired PKM2 activity to cancer and the importance of studying genetic variations in PKM2 in the future to understand their relevance in cancer in general.
Ben Salah G, Salem IH, Masmoudi A, et al. Chromosomal instability associated with a novel BLM frameshift mutation (c.1980-1982delAA) in two unrelated Tunisian families with Bloom syndrome. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2014; 28(10):1318-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
The Bloom syndrome (BS) is an autosomal recessive disorder associated with dwarfism, immunodeficiency, reduced fertility and cancer risk. BS cells show genomic instability, particularly an hyper exchange between the sister chromatids due to a defective processing of the DNA replication intermediates. It is caused by mutations in the BLM gene which encodes a member of the RecQ family of DExH box DNA helicases. In this study, we reported cytogenetic, BLM linkage and mutational analyses for two affected Tunisian families. The Cytogenetic parameters were performed by chromosomal aberration (CA) and sister chromatid exchange (SCE) assays and results showed a significant increase in mean frequency of CA and SCE in BS cells. BLM linkage performed by microsatellite genotyping revealed homozygous haplotypes for the BS patients, evidence of linkage to BLM gene. Mutational analysis by direct DNA sequencing revealed a novel frameshift mutation (c.1980-1982delAA) in exon 8 of BLM gene, resulting in a truncated protein (p.Lys662fsX5). The truncated protein could explain genomic instability and its related symptoms in the BS patients. The screening of this mutation is useful for BS diagnosis confirmation in Tunisian families.
Bloom syndrome, an autosomal recessive disorder of the BLM gene, confers predisposition to a broad spectrum of early-onset cancers in multiple tissue types. Loss of genomic integrity is a primary hallmark of such human malignancies, but many studies using disease-affected specimens are limited in that they are retrospective and devoid of an appropriate experimental control. To overcome this, we devised an experimental system to recapitulate the early molecular events in genetically engineered mouse embryonic stem cells, in which cells undergoing loss of heterozygosity (LOH) can be enriched after inducible down-regulation of Blm expression, with or without site-directed DNA double-strand break (DSB) induction. Transient loss of BLM increased the rate of LOH, whose breakpoints were distributed along the chromosome. Combined with site-directed DSB induction, loss of BLM synergistically increased the rate of LOH and concentrated the breakpoints around the targeted chromosomal region. We characterized the LOH events using specifically tailored genomic tools, such as high-resolution array comparative genomic hybridization and high-density single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping, revealing that the combination of BLM suppression and DSB induction enhanced genomic rearrangements, including deletions and insertions, whose breakpoints were clustered in genomic inverted repeats and associated with junctional microhomologies. Our experimental approach successfully uncovered the detailed molecular mechanisms of as-yet-uncharacterized loss of heterozygosities and reveals the significant contribution of microhomology-mediated genomic rearrangements, which could be widely applicable to the early steps of cancer formation in general.
RecQ DNA helicases are critical for proper maintenance of genomic stability, and mutations in multiple human RecQ genes are linked with genetic disorders characterized by a predisposition to cancer. RecQ proteins are conserved from prokaryotes to humans and in all cases form higher-order complexes with other proteins to efficiently execute their cellular functions. The focus of this review is a conserved complex that is formed between RecQ helicases and type-I topoisomerases. In humans, this complex is referred to as the BLM dissolvasome or BTR complex, and is comprised of the RecQ helicase BLM, topoisomerase IIIα, and the RMI proteins. The BLM dissolvasome functions to resolve linked DNA intermediates without exchange of genetic material, which is critical in somatic cells. We will review the history of this complex and highlight its roles in DNA replication, recombination, and repair. Additionally, we will review recently established interactions between BLM dissolvasome and a second set of genome maintenance factors (the Fanconi anemia proteins) that appear to allow coordinated genome maintenance efforts between the two systems.
The Bloom syndrome gene product, BLM, is a member of the highly conserved RecQ family. An emerging concept is the BLM helicase collaborates with the homologous recombination (HR) machinery to help avoid undesirable HR events and to achieve a high degree of fidelity during the HR reaction. However, exactly how such coordination occurs in vivo is poorly understood. Here, we identified a protein termed SPIDR (scaffolding protein involved in DNA repair) as the link between BLM and the HR machinery. SPIDR independently interacts with BLM and RAD51 and promotes the formation of a BLM/RAD51-containing complex of biological importance. Consistent with its role as a scaffolding protein for the assembly of BLM and RAD51 foci, cells depleted of SPIDR show increased rate of sister chromatid exchange and defects in HR. Moreover, SPIDR depletion leads to genome instability and causes hypersensitivity to DNA damaging agents. We propose that, through providing a scaffold for the cooperation of BLM and RAD51 in a multifunctional DNA-processing complex, SPIDR not only regulates the efficiency of HR, but also dictates the specific HR pathway.
Helicases have important roles in nucleic acid metabolism, and their prominence is marked by the discovery of genetic disorders arising from disease-causing mutations. Missense mutations can yield unique insight to molecular functions and basis for disease pathology. XPB or XPD missense mutations lead to Xeroderma pigmentosum, Cockayne's syndrome, Trichothiodystrophy, or COFS syndrome, suggesting that DNA repair and transcription defects are responsible for clinical heterogeneity. Complex phenotypes are also observed for RECQL4 helicase mutations responsible for Rothmund-Thomson syndrome, Baller-Gerold syndrome, or RAPADILINO. Bloom's syndrome causing missense mutations are found in the conserved helicase and RecQ C-terminal domain of BLM that interfere with helicase function. Although rare, patient-derived missense mutations in the exonuclease or helicase domain of Werner syndrome protein exist. Characterization of WRN separation-of-function mutants may provide insight to catalytic requirements for suppression of phenotypes associated with the premature aging disorder. Characterized FANCJ missense mutations associated with breast cancer or Fanconi anemia interfere with FANCJ helicase activity required for DNA repair and the replication stress response. For example, a FA patient-derived mutation in the FANCJ Iron-Sulfur domain was shown to uncouple its ATPase and translocase activity from DNA unwinding. Mutations in DDX11 (ChlR1) are responsible for Warsaw Breakage syndrome, a recently discovered autosomal recessive cohesinopathy. Ongoing and future studies will address clinically relevant helicase mutations and polymorphisms, including those that interfere with key protein interactions or exert dominant negative phenotypes (e.g., certain mutant alleles of Twinkle mitochondrial DNA helicase). Chemical rescue may be an approach to restore helicase activity in loss-of-function helicase disorders. Genetic and biochemical analyses of disease-causing missense mutations in human helicase disorders have led to new insights to the molecular defects underlying aberrant cellular and clinical phenotypes.
Rezazadeh S On BLM helicase in recombination-mediated telomere maintenance. Mol Biol Rep. 2013; 40(4):3049-64 [PubMed] Related Publications
Bloom syndrome (BS) is an extremely rare, autosomal recessive genetic syndrome of humans. Patients with BS are predisposed to almost all forms of cancer and also display premature aging phenotypes. These patients are diagnosed in the clinics by hyper-recombination phenotype that is manifested by high rates of sister chromatid exchange. The gene mutated in BS, designated BLM, lies on chromosome 15q26.1 and encodes a RecQ-like ATP-dependent 3'-5' helicase, which functions in DNA double-strand break repair processes such as non-homologous end joining, homologous recombination-mediated repair, resolution of stalled replication forks and synthesis-dependent strand annealing, although its precise functions at the telomeres are speculative. Recently it has been suggested that the BLM helicase may play important roles in Telomerase-independent forms of telomere elongation or alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). A mechanism that although provides cells with a window of opportunity to save ends of their chromosomes, puts these Telomerase (-/-) cells under continuous stress. BLM localization within ALT-associated PML nuclear bodies in telomerase-negative immortalized cell lines and its interaction with the telomere-specific proteins strengthens that suggestion. Here, I begin by outlining features common to all RecQ helicases. I, then, survey evidences that implicate possible roles of BLM helicase in this recombination-mediated mechanism of telomere elongation.
Bloom's syndrome (BS) is an inherited disorder caused by loss of function of the recQ-like BLM helicase. It is characterized clinically by severe growth retardation and cancer predisposition. BLM localizes to PML nuclear bodies and to the nucleolus; its deficiency results in increased intra- and inter-chromosomal recombination, including hyper-recombination of rDNA repeats. Our previous work has shown that BLM facilitates RNA polymerase I-mediated rRNA transcription in the nucleolus (Grierson et al., 2012 ). This study uses protein co-immunoprecipitation and in vitro transcription/translation (IVTT) to identify a direct interaction of DNA topoisomerase I with the C-terminus of BLM in the nucleolus. In vitro helicase assays demonstrate that DNA topoisomerase I stimulates BLM helicase activity on a nucleolar-relevant RNA:DNA hybrid, but has an insignificant effect on BLM helicase activity on a control DNA:DNA duplex substrate. Reciprocally, BLM enhances the DNA relaxation activity of DNA topoisomerase I on supercoiled DNA substrates. Our study suggests that BLM and DNA topoisomerase I function coordinately to modulate RNA:DNA hybrid formation as well as relaxation of DNA supercoils in the context of nucleolar transcription.
Bloom syndrome (BS) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the RecQ-like DNA helicase BLM, which functions in the maintenance of genome stability. Using a humanized model of Saccharomyces cerevisiae that expresses a chimera of the N terminus of yeast Sgs1 and the C terminus of human BLM from the chromosomal SGS1 locus, we have functionally evaluated 27 BLM alleles that are not currently known to be associated with BS. We identified nine alleles with impaired function when assessed for hypersensitivity to the DNA-damaging agent hydroxyurea (HU). Six of these alleles (P690L, R717T, W803R, Y811C, F857L, G972V) caused sensitivity to HU that was comparable to known BS-associated or helicase-dead alleles, suggesting that they may cause BS and, in the heterozygous state, act as risk factors for cancerogenesis. We also identified three alleles (R791C, P868L, G1120R) that caused intermediate sensitivity to HU; although unlikely to cause BS, these partial loss-of-function alleles may increase risk for cancers or other BS-associated complications if a person is homozygous or compound heterozygous for these alleles or if they carry a known BS-associated allele.
Fanconi anemia (FA) and Bloom's syndrome (BS) are rare hereditary chromosomal instability disorders. FA displays bone marrow failure, acute myeloid leukemia, and head and neck cancers, whereas BS is characterized by growth retardation, immunodeficiency, and a wide spectrum of cancers. The BLM gene mutated in BS encodes a DNA helicase that functions in a protein complex to suppress sister-chromatid exchange. Of the 15 FA genetic complementation groups implicated in interstrand crosslink repair, FANCJ encodes a DNA helicase involved in recombinational repair and replication stress response. Based on evidence that BLM and FANCJ interact we suggest that crosstalk between BLM and FA pathways is more complex than previously thought. We propose testable models for how FANCJ and BLM coordinate to help cells deal with stalled replication forks or double-strand breaks (DSB). Understanding how BLM and FANCJ cooperate will help to elucidate an important pathway for maintaining genomic stability.
Chabosseau P, Buhagiar-Labarchède G, Onclercq-Delic R, et al. Pyrimidine pool imbalance induced by BLM helicase deficiency contributes to genetic instability in Bloom syndrome. Nat Commun. 2011; 2:368 [PubMed] Related Publications
Defects in DNA replication are associated with genetic instability and cancer development, as illustrated in Bloom syndrome. Features of this syndrome include a slowdown in replication speed, defective fork reactivation and high rates of sister chromatid exchange, with a general predisposition to cancer. Bloom syndrome is caused by mutations in the BLM gene encoding a RecQ helicase. Here we report that BLM deficiency is associated with a strong cytidine deaminase defect, leading to pyrimidine pool disequilibrium. In BLM-deficient cells, pyrimidine pool normalization leads to reduction of sister chromatid exchange frequency and is sufficient for full restoration of replication fork velocity but not the fork restart defect, thus identifying the part of the Bloom syndrome phenotype because of pyrimidine pool imbalance. This study provides new insights into the molecular basis of control of replication speed and the genetic instability associated with Bloom syndrome. Nucleotide pool disequilibrium could be a general phenomenon in a large spectrum of precancerous and cancer cells.
Phenotype driven genetic screens allow unbiased exploration of the genome to discover new biological regulators. Bloom syndrome gene (Blm) deficient embryonic stem (ES) cells provide an opportunity for recessive screening due to frequent loss of heterozygosity. We describe a strategy for isolating regulators of mammalian pluripotency based on conversion to homozygosity of PiggyBac gene trap insertions combined with stringent selection for differentiation resistance. From a screen of 2000 mutants we obtained a disruptive integration in the Tcf3 gene. Homozygous Tcf3 mutants showed impaired differentiation and enhanced self-renewal. This phenotype was reverted in a dosage sensitive manner by excision of one or both copies of the gene trap. These results provide new evidence confirming that Tcf3 is a potent negative regulator of pluripotency and validate a forward screening methodology to identify modulators of pluripotent stem cell biology.
Ying S, Hickson ID Fanconi anaemia proteins are associated with sister chromatid bridging in mitosis. Int J Hematol. 2011; 93(4):440-5 [PubMed] Related Publications
The maintenance of genome stability is critical for the suppression of cancer and premature ageing. The maintenance of the human genome requires hundreds of proteins involved in DNA repair, DNA replication, chromosome segregation and cell cycle checkpoint responses. A number of genetic disorders exist in man where a breakdown in genome maintenance is associated with cancer predisposition. Amongst these are Bloom's syndrome (BS) and Fanconi anaemia (FA). The BS and FA gene products co-operate in the repair of damaged DNA. In this review, we focus on interactions between BS and FA proteins that specifically occur during chromosome segregation in mitosis. The BS protein, BLM, was shown recently to define a novel class of anaphase DNA bridge structures that, in some cases, also contain FA proteins. We will discuss the possible source of these bridges and the role that FA proteins and BLM might play in their removal.
In somatic cells, Holliday junctions can be formed between sister chromatids during the recombinational repair of DNA breaks or after replication fork demise. A variety of processes act upon Holliday junctions to remove them from DNA, in events that are critical for proper chromosome segregation. In human cells, the BLM protein, inactivated in individuals with Bloom's syndrome, acts in combination with topoisomerase IIIα, RMI1 and RMI2 (BTR complex) to promote the dissolution of double Holliday junctions. Cells defective for BLM exhibit elevated levels of sister chromatid exchanges (SCEs) and patients with Bloom's syndrome develop a broad spectrum of early-onset cancers caused by chromosome instability. MUS81-EME1 (refs 4-7), SLX1-SLX4 (refs 8-11) and GEN1 (refs 12, 13) also process Holliday junctions but, in contrast to the BTR complex, do so by endonucleolytic cleavage. Here we deplete these nucleases from Bloom's syndrome cells to analyse human cells compromised for the known Holliday junction dissolution/resolution pathways. We show that depletion of MUS81 and GEN1, or SLX4 and GEN1, from Bloom's syndrome cells results in severe chromosome abnormalities, such that sister chromatids remain interlinked in a side-by-side arrangement and the chromosomes are elongated and segmented. Our results indicate that normally replicating human cells require Holliday junction processing activities to prevent sister chromatid entanglements and thereby ensure accurate chromosome condensation. This phenotype was not apparent when both MUS81 and SLX4 were depleted from Bloom's syndrome cells, suggesting that GEN1 can compensate for their absence. Additionally, we show that depletion of MUS81 or SLX4 reduces the high frequency of SCEs in Bloom's syndrome cells, indicating that MUS81 and SLX4 promote SCE formation, in events that may ultimately drive the chromosome instabilities that underpin early-onset cancers associated with Bloom's syndrome.
Mutation of BLM helicase causes Blooms syndrome, a disorder associated with genome instability, high levels of sister chromatid exchanges, and cancer predisposition. To study the influence of BLM on double-strand break (DSB) repair in human chromosomes, we stably transfected a normal human cell line with a DNA substrate that contained a thymidine kinase (tk)-neo fusion gene disrupted by the recognition site for endonuclease I-SceI. The substrate also contained a closely linked functional tk gene to serve as a recombination partner for the tk-neo fusion gene. We derived two cell lines each containing a single integrated copy of the DNA substrate. In these cell lines, a DSB was introduced within the tk-neo fusion gene by expression of I-SceI. DSB repair events that occurred via homologous recombination (HR) or nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) were recovered by selection for G418-resistant clones. DSB repair was examined under conditions of either normal BLM expression or reduced BLM expression brought about by RNA interference. We report that BLM knockdown in both cell lines specifically increased the frequency of HR events that produced deletions by crossovers or single-strand annealing while leaving the frequency of gene conversions unchanged or reduced. We observed no change in the accuracy of individual HR events and no substantial alteration of the nature of individual NHEJ events when BLM expression was reduced. Our work provides the first direct evidence that BLM influences DSB repair pathway choice in human chromosomes and suggests that BLM deficiency can engender genomic instability by provoking an increased frequency of HR events of a potentially deleterious nature.