Evolution of the RECQ family of helicases: A drosophila homolog, Dmblm, is similar to the human bloom syndrome gene.
Several eukaryotic homologs of the Escherichia coli RecQ DNA helicase have been found. These include the human BLM gene, whose mutation results in Bloom syndrome, and the human WRN gene, whose mutation leads to Werner syndrome resembling premature aging. We cloned a Drosophila melanogaster homolog of the RECQ helicase family, Dmblm (Drosophila melanogaster Bloom), which encodes a putative 1487-amino-acid protein. Phylogenetic and dot plot analyses for the RECQ family, including 10 eukaryotic and 3 prokaryotic genes, indicate Dmblm is most closely related to the Homo sapiens BLM gene, suggesting functional similarity. Also, we found that Dmblm cDNA partially rescued the sensitivity to methyl methanesulfonate of Saccharomyces cerevisiae sgs1 mutant, demonstrating the presence of a functional similarity between Dmblm and SGS1. Our analyses identify four possible subfamilies in the RECQ family: (1) the BLM subgroup (H. sapiens Bloom, D. melanogaster Dmblm, and Caenorhabditis elegans T04A11.6); (2) the yeast RECQ subgroup (S. cerevisiae SGS1 and Schizosaccharomyces pombe rqh1/rad12); (3) the RECQL/Q1 subgroup (H. sapiens RECQL/Q1 and C. elegans K02F3.1); and (4) the WRN subgroup (H. sapiens Werner and C. elegans F18C5.2). This result may indicate that metazoans hold at least three RECQ genes, each of which may have a different function, and that multiple RECQ genes diverged with the generation of multicellular organisms. We propose that invertebrates such as nematodes and insects are useful as model systems of human genetic diseases. (+info)
The DNA helicase activity of BLM is necessary for the correction of the genomic instability of bloom syndrome cells.
Bloom syndrome (BS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by growth deficiency, immunodeficiency, genomic instability, and the early development of cancers of many types. BLM, the protein encoded by BLM, the gene mutated in BS, is localized in nuclear foci and absent from BS cells. BLM encodes a DNA helicase, and proteins from three missense alleles lack displacement activity. BLM transfected into BS cells reduces the frequency of sister chromatid exchanges and restores BLM in the nucleus. Missense alleles fail to reduce the sister chromatid exchanges in transfected BS cells or restore the normal nuclear pattern. BLM complements a phenotype of a Saccharomyces cerevisiae sgs1 top3 strain, and the missense alleles do not. This work demonstrates the importance of the enzymatic activity of BLM for its function and nuclear localization pattern. (+info)
Oligomeric ring structure of the Bloom's syndrome helicase.
Bloom's syndrome is a recessive human genetic disorder associated with an elevated incidence of many types of cancer. The Bloom's syndrome gene product, BLM, belongs to the RecQ subfamily of DNA helicases and is required for the maintenance of genomic stability in human cells - in particular, the suppression of reciprocal exchanges between sister chromatids. We have investigated the quaternary structure of BLM using a combination of size-exclusion chromatography and electron microscopy with reference-free image processing. We found that BLM forms hexameric ring structures with an overall diameter of approximately 13 nm surrounding a central hole of approximately 3.5 nm diameter. A fourfold symmetric square form with approximately 11 nm sides and a hole of approximately 4 nm diameter was also detected, which might represent a distinct oligomeric species or a side view of the hexameric form. Chromatography studies indicated that the majority of enzymatically active BLM has an apparent molecular mass of > 700 kDa, which is consistent with an oligomeric structure for BLM. This provides the first structural analysis of an oligomeric ring helicase of eukaryotic cellular origin. These results have implications for the mechanism of action of BLM and suggest that other RecQ family helicases, including the WRN protein associated with Werner's syndrome, might also adopt ring structures. (+info)
Transfection of BLM into cultured bloom syndrome cells reduces the sister-chromatid exchange rate toward normal.
The gene BLM, mutated in Bloom syndrome (BS), encodes the nuclear protein BLM, which when absent, as it is from most BS cells, results in genomic instability. A manifestation of this instability is an excessive rate of sister-chromatid exchange (SCE). Here we describe the effects on this abnormal cellular phenotype of stable transfection of normal BLM cDNAs into two types of BS cells, SV40-transformed fibroblasts and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-transformed lymphoblastoid cells. Clones of BLM-transfected fibroblasts produced normal amounts of BLM by western blot analysis and displayed a normal nuclear localization of the protein by immunofluorescence microscopy. They had a mean of 24 SCEs/46 chromosomes, in contrast to the mean of 69 SCEs in controls transfected only with the vector. BLM-transfected fibroblast clones that expressed highest levels of the BLM protein had lowest levels of SCE. The lymphoblastoid cells transfected with BLM had SCE frequencies of 22 and 42 in two separate experiments in which two different selectable markers were used, in contrast to 57 and 58 in vector-transfected cells; in this type cell, however, the BLM protein was below the level detectable by western blot analysis. These experiments prove that BLM cDNA encodes a functional protein capable of restoring to or toward normal the uniquely characteristic high-SCE phenotype of BS cells. (+info)
Expression of the BLM gene in human haematopoietic cells.
Bloom's syndrome (BS) is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by stunted growth, sun-sensitive erythema and immunodeficiency. Chromosomal abnormalities are often observed. Patients with BS are highly predisposed to cancers. The causative gene for BS has been identified as BLM. The former encodes a protein, which is a homologue of the RecQ DNA helicase family, a family which includes helicases such as Esherichia coli RecQ, yeast Sgs1, and human WRN. WRN is encoded by the gene that when mutated causes Werner's syndrome. The function of BLM in DNA replication and repair has not yet been determined, however. To understand the function of BLM in haematopoietic cells and the cause of immunodeficiency in BS, expression of the BLM gene in various human tissues and haematopoietic cell lines was analysed and the involvement of BLM in immunoglobulin rearrangement examined. In contrast to WRN, BLM was expressed strongly in the testis and thymus. B, T, myelomonocytic and megakaryocytic cell lines also expressed BLM. All of the examined sequences at the junction of the variable (V), diversity (D) and joining (J) regions of the immunoglobulin heavy-chain genes were in-frame, and N-region insertions were also present. The frequency of abnormal rearrangements of the T cell receptor was slightly elevated in the peripheral T cells of patients with BS compared with healthy individuals, whereas a higher frequency of abnormal rearrangements was observed in the cells of patients with ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T). In DND39 cell lines, the induction of sterile transcription, which is required for class switching of immunoglobulin heavy-chain constant genes, was correlated with the induction of the BLM gene. Taking into consideration all these results, BLM may not be directly involved in VDJ recombination, but is apparently involved in the maintenance of the stability of DNA. (+info)
Requirement of yeast SGS1 and SRS2 genes for replication and transcription.
The SGS1 gene of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae encodes a DNA helicase with homology to the human Bloom's syndrome gene BLM and the Werner's syndrome gene WRN. The SRS2 gene of yeast also encodes a DNA helicase. Simultaneous deletion of SGS1 and SRS2 is lethal in yeast. Here, using a conditional mutation of SGS1, it is shown that DNA replication and RNA polymerase I transcription are drastically inhibited in the srs2Delta sgs1-ts strain at the restrictive temperature. Thus, SGS1 and SRS2 function in DNA replication and RNA polymerase I transcription. These functions may contribute to the various defects observed in Werner's and Bloom's syndromes. (+info)
Posttranscriptional gene silencing in Neurospora by a RecQ DNA helicase.
The phenomenon of posttranscriptional gene silencing (PTGS), which occurs when a transgene is introduced into a cell, is poorly understood. Here, the qde-3 gene, which is required for the activation and maintenance of gene silencing in the fungus Neurospora crassa, was isolated. Sequence analysis revealed that the qde-3 gene belongs to the RecQ DNA helicase family. The QDE3 protein may function in the DNA-DNA interaction between introduced transgenes or with an endogenous gene required for gene-silencing activation. In animals, genes that are homologous to RecQ protein, such as the human genes for Bloom's syndrome and Werner's syndrome, may also function in PTGS. (+info)
A role for PML and the nuclear body in genomic stability.
The PML gene of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) encodes a cell-growth and tumor suppressor. PML localizes to discrete nuclear bodies (NBs) that are disrupted in APL cells. The Bloom syndrome gene BLM encodes a RecQ DNA helicase, whose absence from the cell results in genomic instability epitomized by high levels of sister-chromatid exchange (SCE) and cancer predisposition. We show here that BLM co-localizes with PML to the NB. In cells from persons with Bloom syndrome the localization of PML is unperturbed, whereas in APL cells carrying the PML-RARalpha oncoprotein, both PML and BLM are delocalized from the NB into microspeckled nuclear regions. Treatment with retinoic acid (RA) induces the relocalization of both proteins to the NB. In primary PML-/- cells, BLM fails to accumulate in the NB. Strikingly, in PML-/- cells the frequency of SCEs is increased relative to PML+/+ cells. These data demonstrate that BLM is a constituent of the NB and that PML is required for its accumulation in these nuclear domains and for the normal function of BLM. Thus, our findings suggest a role for BLM in APL pathogenesis and implicate the PML NB in the maintenance of genomic stability. (+info)