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Genome Dyn. 2006;1:191-205. doi: 10.1159/000092508.

Nijmegen breakage syndrome and functions of the responsible protein, NBS1.

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Department of Biology, University 'Roma Tre', Rome, Italy.


Nijmegen breakage syndrome (NBS) is a rare recessive genetic disorder, characterized by bird-like facial appearance, early growth retardation, congenital microcephaly, immunodeficiency and high frequency of malignancies. NBS belongs to the so-called chromosome instability syndromes; in fact, NBS cells display spontaneous chromosomal aberrations and are hypersensitive to DNA double-strand break-inducing agents, such as ionizing radiations. NBS1, the gene underlying the disease, is located on human chromosome 8q21. The disease appears to be prevalent in the Eastern and Central European population where more than 90% of patients are homozygous for the founder mutation 657del5 leading to a truncated variant of the protein. NBS1 forms a multimeric complex with MRE11/RAD50 nuclease at the C-terminus and retains or recruits them at the vicinity of sites of DNA damage by direct binding to histone H2AX, which is phosphorylated by PI3-kinase family, such as ATM, in response to DNA damage. Thereafter, the NBS1-complex proceeds to rejoin double-strand breaks predominantly by homologous recombination repair in vertebrates. NBS cells also show to be defective in the activation of intra-S phase checkpoint. We review here some cellular and molecular aspects of NBS, which might contribute to the clinical symptoms of the disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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