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Hum Mol Genet. 2005 Mar 1;14(5):693-701. Epub 2005 Jan 20.

The Fanconi anemia pathway is required for the DNA replication stress response and for the regulation of common fragile site stability.

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  • 1Department of Human Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare multi-genic, autosomal and X-linked recessive disorder characterized by hematological abnormalities, developmental defects and increased cancer susceptibility. Patient-derived FA cells display heightened sensitivity to DNA cross-linking agents such as mitomycin C (MMC). In response to DNA damaging agents, and during S-phase of the cell cycle, the FA pathway is activated via the mono-ubiquitination of FANCD2 (FANCD2-Ub), signaling its translocation to discrete nuclear foci, where it co-localizes with the central DNA repair proteins BRCA1 and RAD51. However, the exact function of activated FANCD2-Ub remains unclear. Here, we have characterized the role of the FA pathway in response to DNA replicative stress by aphidicolin (APH) and hydroxyurea (HU). The FA pathway is strongly activated in response to both agents. In addition, using patient-derived FA cell lines and siRNA targeting FANCD2, we demonstrate a functional requirement for the FA pathway in response to low doses of APH: a replicative stress treatment known to result in chromosome breakage at common fragile sites. Both the total number of chromosome gaps and breaks and breaks at the specific common fragile sites FRA3B and FRA16D were significantly elevated in the absence of an intact FA pathway. Furthermore, we demonstrate that APH activates the mono-ubiquitination of both FANCD2 and PCNA and the phosphorylation of RPA2, signaling processive DNA replication arrest. Following APH treatment, FANCD2-Ub co-localizes with PCNA (early) and RPA2 (late) in discrete nuclear foci. Our results demonstrate an integral role for the FA pathway in the DNA replication stress response.

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