This gene encodes a ubiquitin ligase that is a member of the Fanconi anemia complementation group (FANC). Members of this group are related by their assembly into a common nuclear protein complex rather than by sequence similarity. This gene encodes the protein for complementation group L that mediates monoubiquitination of FANCD2 as well as FANCI. Fanconi anemia is a genetically heterogeneous recessive disorder characterized by cytogenetic instability, hypersensitivity to DNA crosslinking agents, increased chromosomal breakage, and defective DNA repair. Alternative splicing results in multiple transcript variants. [provided by RefSeq, May 2018]
Ramanagoudr-Bhojappa R, Carrington B, Ramaswami M, et al. Multiplexed CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockout of 19 Fanconi anemia pathway genes in zebrafish revealed their roles in growth, sexual development and fertility. PLoS Genet. 2018; 14(12):e1007821 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
Fanconi Anemia (FA) is a genomic instability syndrome resulting in aplastic anemia, developmental abnormalities, and predisposition to hematological and other solid organ malignancies. Mutations in genes that encode proteins of the FA pathway fail to orchestrate the repair of DNA damage caused by DNA interstrand crosslinks. Zebrafish harbor homologs for nearly all known FA genes. We used multiplexed CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis to generate loss-of-function mutants for 17 FA genes: fanca, fancb, fancc, fancd1/brca2, fancd2, fance, fancf, fancg, fanci, fancj/brip1, fancl, fancm, fancn/palb2, fanco/rad51c, fancp/slx4, fancq/ercc4, fanct/ube2t, and two genes encoding FA-associated proteins: faap100 and faap24. We selected two indel mutations predicted to cause premature truncations for all but two of the genes, and a total of 36 mutant lines were generated for 19 genes. Generating two independent mutant lines for each gene was important to validate their phenotypic consequences. RT-PCR from homozygous mutant fish confirmed the presence of transcripts with indels in all genes. Interestingly, 4 of the indel mutations led to aberrant splicing, which may produce a different protein than predicted from the genomic sequence. Analysis of RNA is thus critical in proper evaluation of the consequences of the mutations introduced in zebrafish genome. We used fluorescent reporter assay, and western blots to confirm loss-of-function for several mutants. Additionally, we developed a DEB treatment assay by evaluating morphological changes in embryos and confirmed that homozygous mutants from all the FA genes that could be tested (11/17), displayed hypersensitivity and thus were indeed null alleles. Our multiplexing strategy helped us to evaluate 11 multiple gene knockout combinations without additional breeding. Homozygous zebrafish for all 19 single and 11 multi-gene knockouts were adult viable, indicating FA genes in zebrafish are generally not essential for early development. None of the mutant fish displayed gross developmental abnormalities except for fancp-/- fish, which were significantly smaller in length than their wildtype clutch mates. Complete female-to-male sex reversal was observed in knockouts for 12/17 FA genes, while partial sex reversal was seen for the other five gene knockouts. All adult females were fertile, and among the adult males, all were fertile except for the fancd1 mutants and one of the fancj mutants. We report here generation and characterization of zebrafish knockout mutants for 17 FA disease-causing genes, providing an integral resource for understanding the pathophysiology associated with the disrupted FA pathway.
Chandrasekharappa SC, Chinn SB, Donovan FX, et al. Assessing the spectrum of germline variation in Fanconi anemia genes among patients with head and neck carcinoma before age 50. Cancer. 2017; 123(20):3943-3954 [PubMed] Free Access to Full ArticleRelated Publications
Wu W, Liu Y, Zhou Q, et al. Novel homozygous FANCL mutation and somatic heterozygous SETBP1 mutation in a Chinese girl with Fanconi Anemia. Eur J Med Genet. 2017; 60(7):369-373 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fanconi Anemia (FA) is a rare genetically heterogeneous disorder with 17 known complement groups caused by mutations in different genes. FA complementation group L (FA-L, OMIM #608111) occurred in 0.2% of all FA and only eight mutant variants in the FANCL gene were documented. Phenotype and genotype correlation in FANCL associated FA is still obscure. Here we describe a Chinese girl with FA-L caused by a novel homozygous mutation c.822_823insCTTTCAGG (p.Asp275LeufsX13) in the FANCL gene. The patient's clinical course was typical for FA with progression to bone marrow failure, and death from acute myelomonocytic leukemia (AML-M4) at 9 years of age. Mutation analysis also detected a likely somatic c.2608G > A (p.Gly870Ser) in the SETBP1 gene. Consistent copy number losses of 7q and 18p and gains of 3q and 21q and accumulated non-clonal single cell chromosomal abnormalities were detected in blood leukocytes as her FA progressed. This is the first Chinese FA-L case caused by a novel FANCL mutation. The somatic gene mutation and copy number aberrations could be used to monitor disease progression and the clinical findings provide further information for genotype-phenotype correlation for FA-L.
van Twest S, Murphy VJ, Hodson C, et al. Mechanism of Ubiquitination and Deubiquitination in the Fanconi Anemia Pathway. Mol Cell. 2017; 65(2):247-259 [PubMed] Related Publications
Monoubiquitination and deubiquitination of FANCD2:FANCI heterodimer is central to DNA repair in a pathway that is defective in the cancer predisposition syndrome Fanconi anemia (FA). The "FA core complex" contains the RING-E3 ligase FANCL and seven other essential proteins that are mutated in various FA subtypes. Here, we purified recombinant FA core complex to reveal the function of these other proteins. The complex contains two spatially separate FANCL molecules that are dimerized by FANCB and FAAP100. FANCC and FANCE act as substrate receptors and restrict monoubiquitination to the FANCD2:FANCI heterodimer in only a DNA-bound form. FANCA and FANCG are dispensable for maximal in vitro ubiquitination. Finally, we show that the reversal of this reaction by the USP1:UAF1 deubiquitinase only occurs when DNA is disengaged. Our work reveals the mechanistic basis for temporal and spatial control of FANCD2:FANCI monoubiquitination that is critical for chemotherapy responses and prevention of Fanconi anemia.
Mutations in the human RecQ helicase, BLM, causes Bloom Syndrome, which is a rare autosomal recessive disorder and characterized by genomic instability and an increased risk of cancer. Fanconi Anemia (FA), resulting from mutations in any of the 19 known FA genes and those yet to be known, is also characterized by chromosomal instability and a high incidence of cancer. BLM helicase and FA proteins, therefore, may work in a common tumor-suppressor signaling pathway. To date, it remains largely unclear as to how BLM and FA proteins work concurrently in the maintenance of genome stability. Here we report that BLM is involved in the early activation of FA group D2 protein (FANCD2). We found that FANCD2 activation is substantially delayed and attenuated in crosslinking agent-treated cells harboring deficient Blm compared to similarly treated control cells with sufficient BLM. We also identified that the domain VI of BLM plays an essential role in promoting FANCD2 activation in cells treated with DNA crosslinking agents, especially ultraviolet B. The similar biological effects performed by ΔVI-BLM and inactivated FANCD2 further confirm the relationship between BLM and FANCD2. Mutations within the domain VI of BLM detected in human cancer samples demonstrate the functional importance of this domain, suggesting human tumorigenicity resulting from mtBLM may be at least partly attributed to mitigated FANCD2 activation. Collectively, our data show a previously unknown regulatory liaison in advancing our understanding of how the cancer susceptibility gene products act in concert to maintain genome stability.
Esmail Nia G, Fadaee M, Royer R, et al. Profiling Fanconi Anemia Gene Mutations among Iranian Patients. Arch Iran Med. 2016; 19(4):236-40 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genetic syndrome characterized by developmental defects, bone marrow failure, and a high cancer risk. FA is usually inherited as an autosomal recessive condition. This disease is genetically heterogeneous and mutations in 16 different genes have been identified in FA patients to date. An accurate diagnosis needs detection of pathogenic variations in the FA genes along with positive results from chromosome breakage test. METHODS: In this study, 48 families with at least 2 affected FA patients and positive chromosome breakage test were enrolled from the Iranian population. Molecular analysis of FA genes was performed using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) method and Multiple Ligation Dependent Probe Amplification (MLPA). RESULTS: Causal mutations for 30 (63%) patients were identified in homozygous or compound heterozygous forms. FANCA had the highest mutation frequency rate (83%) followed by FANCG (10%), FANCD2 (3%) and FANCL (3%). A significant proportion (44%) of FANCA mutations were large rearrangements. CONCLUSION: Genetic testing for FA patients improves the accuracy of diagnosis and also will be essential for genetic counselling and prenatal diagnosis for future pregnancies in the family. Availability of NGS technology has made the screening of all known FA genes at once more practical and affordable.
The Fanconi Anemia (FA) DNA repair pathway is essential for the recognition and repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICL). Inefficient repair of these ICL can lead to leukemia and bone marrow failure. A critical step in the pathway is the monoubiquitination of FANCD2 by the RING E3 ligase FANCL. FANCL comprises 3 domains, a RING domain that interacts with E2 conjugating enzymes, a central domain required for substrate interaction, and an N-terminal E2-like fold (ELF) domain. The ELF domain is found in all FANCL homologues, yet the function of the domain remains unknown. We report here that the ELF domain of FANCL is required to mediate a non-covalent interaction between FANCL and ubiquitin. The interaction involves the canonical Ile44 patch on ubiquitin, and a functionally conserved patch on FANCL. We show that the interaction is not necessary for the recognition of the core complex, it does not enhance the interaction between FANCL and Ube2T, and is not required for FANCD2 monoubiquitination in vitro. However, we demonstrate that the ELF domain is required to promote efficient DNA damage-induced FANCD2 monoubiquitination in vertebrate cells, suggesting an important function of ubiquitin binding by FANCL in vivo.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare bone marrow failure and cancer predisposition syndrome resulting from pathogenic mutations in genes encoding proteins participating in the repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs). Mutations in 17 genes (FANCA-FANCS) have been identified in FA patients, defining 17 complementation groups. Here, we describe an individual presenting with typical FA features who is deficient for the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (E2), UBE2T. UBE2T is known to interact with FANCL, the E3 ubiquitin-ligase component of the multiprotein FA core complex, and is necessary for the monoubiquitination of FANCD2 and FANCI. Proband fibroblasts do not display FANCD2 and FANCI monoubiquitination, do not form FANCD2 foci following treatment with mitomycin C, and are hypersensitive to crosslinking agents. These cellular defects are complemented by expression of wild-type UBE2T, demonstrating that deficiency of the protein UBE2T can lead to Fanconi anemia. UBE2T gene gains an alias of FANCT.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a rare genetic disorder characterized by genome instability, increased cancer susceptibility, progressive bone marrow failure (BMF), and various developmental abnormalities resulting from the defective FA pathway. FA is caused by mutations in genes that mediate repair processes of interstrand crosslinks and/or DNA adducts generated by endogenous aldehydes. The UBE2T E2 ubiquitin conjugating enzyme acts in FANCD2/FANCI monoubiquitination, a critical event in the pathway. Here we identified two unrelated FA-affected individuals, each harboring biallelic mutations in UBE2T. They both produced a defective UBE2T protein with the same missense alteration (p.Gln2Glu) that abolished FANCD2 monoubiquitination and interaction with FANCL. We suggest this FA complementation group be named FA-T.
Vetro A, Iascone M, Limongelli I, et al. Loss-of-Function FANCL Mutations Associate with Severe Fanconi Anemia Overlapping the VACTERL Association. Hum Mutat. 2015; 36(5):562-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The diagnosis of VACTERL syndrome can be elusive, especially in the prenatal life, due to the presence of malformations that overlap those present in other genetic conditions, including the Fanconi anemia (FA). We report on three VACTERL cases within two families, where the two who arrived to be born died shortly after birth due to severe organs' malformations. The suspicion of VACTERL association was based on prenatal ultrasound assessment and postnatal features. Subsequent chromosome breakage analysis suggested the diagnosis of FA. Finally, by next-generation sequencing based on the analysis of the exome in one family and of a panel of Fanconi genes in the second one, we identified novel FANCL truncating mutations in both families. We used ectopic expression of wild-type FANCL to functionally correct the cellular FA phenotype for both mutations. Our study emphasizes that the diagnosis of FA should be considered when VACTERL association is suspected. Furthermore, we show that loss-of-function mutations in FANCL result in a severe clinical phenotype characterized by early postnatal death.
Fanconi anaemia (FA) is a cancer predisposition syndrome characterized by cellular sensitivity to DNA interstrand crosslinkers. The molecular defect in FA is an impaired DNA repair pathway. The critical event in activating this pathway is monoubiquitination of FANCD2. In vivo, a multisubunit FA core complex catalyzes this step, but its mechanism is unclear. Here, we report purification of a native avian FA core complex and biochemical reconstitution of FANCD2 monoubiquitination. This demonstrates that the catalytic FANCL E3 ligase subunit must be embedded within the complex for maximal activity and site specificity. We genetically and biochemically define a minimal subcomplex comprising just three proteins (FANCB, FANCL, and FAAP100) that functions as the monoubiquitination module. Residual FANCD2 monoubiquitination activity is retained in cells defective for other FA core complex subunits. This work describes the in vitro reconstitution and characterization of this multisubunit monoubiquitin E3 ligase, providing key insight into the conserved FA DNA repair pathway.
Current methods for detecting mutations in Fanconi anemia (FA)-suspected patients are inefficient and often miss mutations. We have applied recent advances in DNA sequencing and genomic capture to the diagnosis of FA. Specifically, we used custom molecular inversion probes or TruSeq-enrichment oligos to capture and sequence FA and related genes, including introns, from 27 samples from the International Fanconi Anemia Registry at The Rockefeller University. DNA sequencing was complemented with custom array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) and RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) analysis. aCGH identified deletions/duplications in 4 different FA genes. RNA-seq analysis revealed lack of allele specific expression associated with a deletion and splicing defects caused by missense, synonymous, and deep-in-intron variants. The combination of TruSeq-targeted capture, aCGH, and RNA-seq enabled us to identify the complementation group and biallelic germline mutations in all 27 families: FANCA (7), FANCB (3), FANCC (3), FANCD1 (1), FANCD2 (3), FANCF (2), FANCG (2), FANCI (1), FANCJ (2), and FANCL (3). FANCC mutations are often the cause of FA in patients of Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) ancestry, and we identified 2 novel FANCC mutations in 2 patients of AJ ancestry. We describe here a strategy for efficient molecular diagnosis of FA.
Effectiveness of DNA cross-linking drugs in the treatment of bladder cancer suggests that bladder cancer cells may have harbored an insufficient cellular response to DNA cross-link damage, which will sensitize cells to DNA cross-linking agents. Cell sensitivity benefits from deficient DNA damage responses, which, on the other hand, can cause cancer. Many changed cellular signaling pathways are known to be involved in bladder tumorigenesis; however, DNA cross-link damage response pathway [Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway], whose alterations appear to be a plausible cause of the development of bladder cancer, remains an under-investigated area in bladder cancer research. In this study, we found FAVL (variant of FA protein L--FANCL) was elevated substantially in bladder cancer tissues examined. Ectopic expression of FAVL in bladder cancer cells as well as normal human cells confer an impaired FA pathway and hypersensitivity to Mitomycin C, similar to those found in FA cells, indicating that FAVL elevation may possess the same tumor promotion potential as an impaired FA pathway harbored in FA cells. Indeed, a higher level of FAVL expression can promote the growth of bladder cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, which, at least partly, results from FAVL perturbation of FANCL expression, an essential factor for the activation of the FA pathway. Moreover, a higher level of FAVL expression was found to be associated with chromosomal instability and the invasiveness of bladder cancer cells. Collectively, FAVL elevation can increase the tumorigenic potential of bladder cancer cells, including the invasive potential that confers the development of advanced bladder cancer. These results enhance our understanding the pathogenesis of human bladder cancer, holding a promise to develop additional effective tools to fight human bladder cancer.
Bone marrow failure is a nearly universal complication of Fanconi anemia. The proteins encoded by FANC genes are involved in DNA damage responses through the formation of a multisubunit nuclear complex that facilitates the E3 ubiquitin ligase activity of FANCL. However, it is not known whether loss of E3 ubiquitin ligase activity accounts for the hematopoietic stem cell defects characteristic of Fanconi anemia. Here we provide evidence that FANCL increases the activity and expression of β-catenin, a key pluripotency factor in hematopoietic stem cells. We show that FANCL ubiquitinates β-catenin with atypical ubiquitin chain extension known to have nonproteolytic functions. Specifically, β-catenin modified with lysine-11 ubiquitin chain extension efficiently activates a lymphocyte enhancer-binding factor-T cell factor reporter. We also show that FANCL-deficient cells display diminished capacity to activate β-catenin leading to reduced transcription of Wnt-responsive targets c-Myc and Cyclin D1. Suppression of FANCL expression in normal human CD34(+) stem and progenitor cells results in fewer β-catenin active cells and inhibits expansion of multilineage progenitors. Together, these results suggest that diminished Wnt/β-catenin signaling may be an underlying molecular defect in FANCL-deficient hematopoietic stem cells leading to their accelerated loss.
van de Vrugt HJ, Koomen M, Bakker S, et al. Evidence for complete epistasis of null mutations in murine Fanconi anemia genes Fanca and Fancg. DNA Repair (Amst). 2011; 10(12):1252-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fanconi anemia (FA) is a heritable disease characterized by bone marrow failure, congenital abnormalities, and cancer predisposition. The 15 identified FA genes operate in a molecular pathway to preserve genomic integrity. Within this pathway the FA core complex operates as an ubiquitin ligase that activates the complex of FANCD2 and FANCI to coordinate DNA repair. The FA core complex is formed by at least 12 proteins. However, only the FANCL subunit displays ubiquitin ligase activity. FANCA and FANCG are members of the FA core complex for which no other functions have been described than to participate in protein interactions. In this study we generated mice with combined null alleles for Fanca and Fancg to identify extended functions for these genes by characterizing the double mutant mice and cells. Double mutant a(-/-)/g(-/-) mice were born at near Mendelian frequencies without apparent developmental abnormalities. Histological analysis of a(-/-)/g(-/-) mice revealed a Leydig cell hyperplasia and frequent vacuolization of Sertoli cells in testes, while ovaries were depleted from developing follicles and displayed an interstitial cell hyperplasia. These gonadal aberrations were associated with a compromised fertility of a(-/-)/g(-/-) males and females. During the first year of life a(-/-)/g(-/-) did not develop malignancies or bone marrow failure. At the cellular level a(-/-)/g(-/-), Fanca(-/-), and Fancg(-/-) cells proved equally compromised in DNA crosslink and homology-directed repair. Overall the phenotype of a(-/-)/g(-/-) double knockout mice and cells appeared highly similar to the phenotype of Fanca or Fancg single knockouts. The lack of an augmented phenotype suggest that null mutations in Fanca or Fancg are fully epistatic, making additional important functions outside of the FA core complex highly unlikely.