Fanconi anaemia (FA) is a rare autosomal recessive disease characterized by increased spontaneous and DNA crosslinker-induced chromosome instability, progressive pancytopenia and cancer susceptibility. An increasing number of genes are involved in FA, including the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA2. Five of the FA proteins (FANCA, FANCC, FANCE, FANCF and FANCG) assemble in a complex that is required for FANCD2 activation in response to DNA crosslinks. Active FANCD2 then interacts with BRCA1 and forms discrete nuclear foci. FANCD2 is independently phosphorylated by ATM (the protein whose gene is mutated in ataxia telangiectasia) in response to ionizing radiation. In addition, the FA proteins are interconnected with other nuclear and cytoplasmic factors all related to cellular responses to carcinogenic stress and to caretaker and gatekeeper functions. In this review, the most recently published data on the molecular biology of the FA pathway and its molecular crosstalk with ATM, BRCA1 and BRCA2, proteins involved in xenobiotic and reactive oxygen species metabolism, apoptosis, cell cycle control and telomere stability, are summarized. The currently available data indicate that FA is a central node in a complex nuclear and cytoplasmic network of tumour suppressor and genome stability pathways fully committed to prevent cancer.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2002|