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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Oct;22(20):6971-8.

Homologous recombination resolution defect in werner syndrome.

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Departments of Pathology. Biostatistics. Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-7705, USA.


Werner syndrome (WRN) is an uncommon autosomal recessive disease whose phenotype includes features of premature aging, genetic instability, and an elevated risk of cancer. We used three different experimental strategies to show that WRN cellular phenotypes of limited cell division potential, DNA damage hypersensitivity, and defective homologous recombination (HR) are interrelated. WRN cell survival and the generation of viable mitotic recombinant progeny could be rescued by expressing wild-type WRN protein or by expressing the bacterial resolvase protein RusA. The dependence of WRN cellular phenotypes on RAD51-dependent HR pathways was demonstrated by using a dominant-negative RAD51 protein to suppress mitotic recombination in WRN and control cells: the suppression of RAD51-dependent recombination led to significantly improved survival of WRN cells following DNA damage. These results define a physiological role for the WRN RecQ helicase protein in RAD51-dependent HR and identify a mechanistic link between defective recombination resolution and limited cell division potential, DNA damage hypersensitivity, and genetic instability in human somatic cells.

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