Rothmund-Thomson syndrome and RECQL4 defect: splitting and lumping.
ABSTRACT Rothmund-Thomson Syndrome (RTS) is a rare autosomal recessive genodermatosis with a heterogeneous clinical profile. Mutations in RECQL4, encoding a RecQ DNA helicase, are present in a large fraction, but not all clinically diagnosed patients, allowing to classify RTS among the RecQ helicase chromosomal instability defects including Bloom's and Werner's syndromes. Results of RECQL4 test coupled to the variable clinical presentation favored the splitting of RTS clinical phenotype into nosological entities under distinct genetic control. In parallel, lumping of the RECQL4 gene to two other diseases, RAPADILINO and Baller-Gerold has paved the way to unravel through allelic heterogeneity complex genotype-phenotype correlations. Recql4 knockout mice provided crucial insights into the comprehension of the functional role of RECQL4 helicase, which have been corroborated by the initial biochemical characterization of RECQL4 protein and its acting pathway and by studies on RECQL4 homologs in yeast and Xenopus. A role for RECQL4 in initiation of DNA replication and in sister chromatid cohesion has been proposed, which currently fits the pieces of evidence achieved by different approaches. Further work is needed to define the specific and shared functions of RECQL4 in relation to other RecQ helicases and to connect RECQL4 diseases to other genomic instability syndromes with birth defects and cancer predisposition.
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ABSTRACT: RECQ helicase protein-like 4 (RECQL4) is a member of the human RECQ family of DNA helicases. Two-thirds of patients with Rothmund-Thomson syndrome (RTS) carry biallelic inactivating mutations in the RECQL4 gene. RTS is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by poikiloderma, sparse hair, small stature, skeletal abnormalities, cataracts, and an increased risk of cancer. Mutations in two other RECQ helicases, BLM and WRN, are responsible for the cancer predisposition conditions Bloom and Werner syndromes, respectively. Previous studies have shown that BLM and WRN-deficient cells demonstrate increased sensitivity to hydroxyurea (HU), camptothecin (CPT), and 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO). Little is known about the sensitivity of RECQL4-deficient cells to these and other genotoxic agents. The purpose of this study was to determine if RTS cells display any distinct cellular phenotypes in response to DNA damaging agents or replication blocks that could provide insight into the molecular function of the RECQL4 protein. Our results show that primary fibroblasts from RTS patients carrying two deleterious RECQL4 mutations, compared to wild type (WT) fibroblasts, have increased sensitivity to HU, CPT, and doxorubicin (DOX), modest sensitivity to other DNA damaging agents including ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, ionizing radiation (IR), and cisplatin (CDDP), and relative resistance to 4NQO. The RECQ family of DNA helicases has been implicated in the regulation of DNA replication, recombination, and repair. Because HU, CPT, and DOX exert their effects primarily during S phase, these results support a greater role for the RECQL4 protein in DNA replication as opposed to repair of exogenous damage.Human Genetics 08/2008; 123(6):643-53. DOI:10.1007/s00439-008-0518-4 · 4.52 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: DNA repair maintains genomic stability and the loss of DNA repair capacity results in genetic instability that may lead to a decline of cellular function. Adult stem cells are extremely important in the long-term maintenance of tissues throughout life. They regenerate and renew tissues in response to damage and replace senescent terminally differentiated cells that no longer function. Oxidative stress, toxic byproducts, reduced mitochondrial function and external exposures all damage DNA through base modification or mis-incorporation and result in DNA damage. As in most cells, this damage may limit the survival of the stem cell population affecting tissue regeneration and even longevity. This review examines the hypothesis that an age-related loss of DNA damage repair pathways poses a significant threat to stem cell survival and longevity. Normal stem cells appear to have strict control of gene expression and DNA replication whereas stem cells with loss of DNA repair may have altered patterns of proliferation, quiescence and differentiation. Furthermore, stem cells with loss of DNA repair may be susceptible to malignant transformation either directly or through the emergence of cancer-prone stem cells. Human diseases and animal models of loss of DNA repair provide longitudinal analysis of DNA repair processes in stem cell populations and may provide links to the physiology of aging.Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(22):7557-65. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkm1064 · 8.81 Impact Factor