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Cancer Res. 1994 May 1;54(9):2327-30.

Sequence analysis of the breakpoint cluster region in the ALL-1 gene involved in acute leukemia.

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Jefferson Cancer Institute, Jefferson Cancer Center, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107.


DNA rearrangements caused by chromosome translocations between band 11q23 and various chromosomes can be detected by a single probe, B859, an 859-base pair complementary DNA fragment derived from the human ALL-1 gene. To try to understand why band 11q23 becomes a frequent target of the translocations, we have sequenced the entire breakpoint cluster region, a 8342-base pair BamHI genomic fragment delineated by B859. We found eight Alu repeats located within this region in the same orientation as the ALL-1 gene. We have also analyzed the sequences of the breakpoints in 10 patients with 6 different types of 11q23 aberration. In five patients the breaks coincided with Alu sequences on chromosome 11, but not on the partner chromosomes. Also, seven of the breaks occurred in the region delineated by exons 6 and 7, which is composed mainly of Alu sequences. In three patients topoisomerase II recognition site-like sequences, at different stringency levels, were identified at the breakpoints on chromosome 11. We conclude that while there is no specific sequence element present at all the breakpoints, the high density of Alu sequences in the breakpoint cluster region possibly makes the latter more prone to recombination events.

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