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Open Access Research article

Telomere and ribosomal DNA repeats are chromosomal targets of the bloom syndrome DNA helicase

James Schawalder12, Enesa Paric13 and Norma F Neff1*

Author affiliations

1 Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, New York Blood Center, New York, New York 10021, USA

2 Helicon Therapeutics, Farmingdale, New York 11735, USA

3 Gene Therapy Vector Laboratory, North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York 11030, USA

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Citation and License

BMC Cell Biology 2003, 4:15  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-4-15

Published: 27 October 2003

Abstract

Background

Bloom syndrome is one of the most cancer-predisposing disorders and is characterized by genomic instability and a high frequency of sister chromatid exchange. The disorder is caused by loss of function of a 3' to 5' RecQ DNA helicase, BLM. The exact role of BLM in maintaining genomic integrity is not known but the helicase has been found to associate with several DNA repair complexes and some DNA replication foci.

Results

Chromatin immunoprecipitation of BLM complexes recovered telomere and ribosomal DNA repeats. The N-terminus of BLM, required for NB localization, is the same as the telomere association domain of BLM. The C-terminus is required for ribosomal DNA localization. BLM localizes primarily to the non-transcribed spacer region of the ribosomal DNA repeat where replication forks initiate. Bloom syndrome cells expressing the deletion alleles lacking the ribosomal DNA and telomere association domains have altered cell cycle populations with increased S or G2/M cells relative to normal.

Conclusion

These results identify telomere and ribosomal DNA repeated sequence elements as chromosomal targets for the BLM DNA helicase during the S/G2 phase of the cell cycle. BLM is localized in nuclear bodies when it associates with telomeric repeats in both telomerase positive and negative cells. The BLM DNA helicase participates in genomic stability at ribosomal DNA repeats and telomeres.