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Fanconi anemia and DNA repair.

Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by defects in at least eight distinct genes FANCA, B, C, D1, D2, E, F and G. The clinical phenotype of all FA complementation groups is similar and is characterized by progressive bone marrow failure, cancer proneness and typical birth defects. The principal cellular phenotype is hypersensitivity to DNA damage, particularly interstrand DNA crosslinks. The FA proteins constitute a multiprotein pathway whose precise biochemical function(s) remain unknown. Five of the FA proteins (FANCA, C, E, F and G) interact in a nuclear complex upstream of FANCD2. FANCB and FANCD1 have not yet been cloned, but it is likely that FANCB is part of the nuclear complex and that FANCD1 acts downstream of FANCD2. The FA nuclear complex regulates the mono-ubiquitination of FANCD2 in response to DNA damage, resulting in targeting of this protein into nuclear foci. These foci also contain BRCA1 and other DNA damage response proteins. In male meiosis, FANCD2 also co-localizes with BRCA1 at synaptonemal complexes. Together, these data suggest that the FA pathway functions primarily as a DNA damage response system, although its exact role (direct involvement in DNA repair versus indirect, facilitating role) has not yet been defined.

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