Surprising findings from just five patients has led to the first proof of how the rare disorder Fanconi anemia causes chromosomal instability. A team of international researchers, led by scientists at Rockefeller University, reports the findings in the September issue of Nature Genetics.
The scientists found a gene mutation not previously known to be related to Fanconi anemia, and they say that BRIP1 is the first gene associated with the disease whose protein has a known function. That protein, known as BACH1, normally helps DNA unwind in order to be repaired, and if it cannot function, chromosomal damage accumulates, they say.
"We have known for decades that patients with Fanconi anemia have chromosomes that break easily, but none of the many genes previously found to be associated with the disease explained this phenomenon. This new link to BRIP1 mutations may have revealed a central player in development of the disease," says the studys principal investigator, Arleen Auerbach, Ph.D., who directs the Laboratory of Human Genetics and Hematology at Rockefeller. Working with her were researchers from two German universities and from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
Joseph Bonner | EurekAlert!
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