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Cell Cycle. 2008 Apr 15;7(8):989-1000. Epub 2008 Jan 30.

Unique and important consequences of RECQ1 deficiency in mammalian cells.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Five members of the RecQ subfamily of DEx-H-containing DNA helicases have been identified in both human and mouse, and mutations in BLM, WRN, and RECQ4 are associated with human diseases of premature aging, cancer, and chromosomal instability. Although a genetic disease has not been linked to RECQ1 mutations, RECQ1 helicase is the most highly expressed of the human RecQ helicases, suggesting an important role in cellular DNA metabolism. Recent advances have elucidated a unique role of RECQ1 to suppress genomic instability. Embryonic fibroblasts from RECQ1-deficient mice displayed aneuploidy, chromosomal instability, and increased load of DNA damage.(1) Acute depletion of human RECQ1 renders cells sensitive to DNA damage and results in spontaneous gamma-H2AX foci and elevated sister chromatid exchanges, indicating aberrant repair of DNA breaks.(2) Consistent with a role in DNA repair, RECQ1 relocalizes to irradiation-induced nuclear foci and associates with chromatin.(2) RECQ1 catalytic activities(3) and interactions with DNA repair proteins(2,4,5) are likely to be important for its molecular functions in genome homeostasis. Collectively, these studies provide the first evidence for an important role of RECQ1 to confer chromosomal stability that is unique from that of other RecQ helicases and suggest its potential involvement in tumorigenesis.

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