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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2009 Apr;66(7):1209-22. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-8580-6.

Welcome the family of FANCJ-like helicases to the block of genome stability maintenance proteins.

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Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, NIH Biomedical Research Center, 251 Bayview Blvd, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


The FANCJ family of DNA helicases is emerging as an important group of proteins for the prevention of human disease, cancer, and chromosomal instability. FANCJ was identified by its association with breast cancer, and is implicated in Fanconi Anemia. Proteins with sequence similarity to FANCJ are important for maintenance of genomic stability. Mutations in genes encoding proteins related to FANCJ, designated ChlR1 in human and Chl1p in yeast, result in sister chromatid cohesion defects. Nematodes mutated in dog-1 show germline as well as somatic deletions in genes containing guanine-rich DNA. Rtel knockout mice are embryonic lethal, and embryonic stem cells show telomere loss and chromosomal instability. FANCJ also shares sequence similarity with human XPD and yeast RAD3 helicases required for nucleotide excision repair. The recently solved structure of XPD has provided new insight to the helicase core and accessory domains of sequence related Superfamily 2 helicases. The functions and roles of members of the FANCJ-like helicase family will be discussed.

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