Nature Communications: Bloom helicase mediates formation of large single–stranded DNA loops during DNA end processing (Sung)


Bloom syndrome (BS) is associated with a profoundly increased cancer risk and is caused by mutations in the Bloom helicase (BLM). BLM is involved in the nucleolytic processing of the ends of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), to yield long 3′ ssDNA tails that serve as the substrate for break repair by homologous recombination (HR). Here, we use single-molecule imaging to demonstrate that BLM mediates the formation of large ssDNA loops during DNA end processing. A BLM mutant lacking the N–terminal domain (NTD) retains vigorous in vitro end processing activity but fails to generate ssDNA loops. This same mutant supports DSB end processing in cells, however, these cells do not form RAD51 DNA repair foci and the processed DSBs are channeled into synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SSA) instead of HR–mediated repair, consistent with a defect in RAD51 filament formation. Together, our results provide insights into BLM functions during homologous recombination.

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