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Trends Genet. 2012 Jan;28(1):22-32. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2011.10.003. Epub 2011 Nov 15.

Common fragile sites: mechanisms of instability revisited.

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  • 1Institut Curie, Centre de Recherche, 26 rue d'Ulm, 75248 Paris, France.


Common fragile sites (CFSs) are large chromosomal regions prone to breakage upon replication stress that are considered a driving force of oncogenesis. CFSs were long believed to contain sequences blocking fork progression, thus impeding replication completion and leading to DNA breaks upon chromosome condensation. However, recent studies show that delayed completion of DNA replication instead depends on a regional paucity in initiation events. Because the distribution and the timing of these events are cell type dependent, different chromosomal regions can be committed to fragility in different cell types. These new data reveal the epigenetic nature of CFSs and open the way to a reevaluation of the role played by these sites in the formation of chromosome rearrangements found in tumors from different tissues.

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