Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by multiple congenital anomalies, progressive bone marrow failure, and high cancer risk. Cells from FA patients exhibit spontaneous chromosomal instability and hypersensitivity to DNA interstrand cross-linking (ICL) agents. Although the precise mechanistic details of the FA/BRCA pathway of ICL-repair are not well understood, progress has been made in the identification of the FA proteins that are required for the pathway. Among the 13 FA complementation groups from which all the FA genes have been cloned, only a few of the FA proteins are predicted to have direct roles in DNA metabolism. One of the more recently identified FA proteins, shown to be responsible for complementation of the FA complementation group J, is the BRCA1 Associated C-terminal Helicase (BACH1, designated FANCJ), originally identified as a protein associated with breast cancer. FANCJ has been proposed to function downstream of FANCD2 monoubiquitination, a critical event in the FA pathway. Evidence supports a role for FANCJ in a homologous recombination (HR) pathway of double strand break (DSB) repair. In this review, we will summarize the current knowledge in terms of FANCJ functions through its enzymatic activities and protein interactions. The molecular roles of FANCJ in DNA repair and the response to replicational stress will be discussed.
Keywords: FANCJ, Fanconi anemia, breast cancer, cancer, DNA damage, DNA repair, helicase
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