Bacolla A, Jaworski A, Larson JE, Jakupciak JP, Chuzhanova N, Abeysinghe SS, O'Connell CD, Cooper DN, Wells RD. Breakpoints of gross deletions coincide with non-B DNA conformations. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004;101(39):14162-7.

Genomic rearrangements are a frequent source of instability, but the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. A 2.5-kbp poly(purine.pyrimidine) sequence from the human PKD1 gene, known to form non-B DNA structures, induced long deletions and other instabilities in plasmids that were mediated by mismatch repair and, in some cases, transcription. The breakpoints occurred at predicted non-B DNA structures. Distance measurements also indicated a significant proximity of alternating purine-pyrimidine and oligo(purine.pyrimidine) tracts to breakpoint junctions in 222 gross deletions and translocations, respectively, involved in human diseases. In 11 deletions analyzed, breakpoints were explicable by non-B DNA structure formation. We conclude that alternative DNA conformations trigger genomic rearrangements through recombination-repair activities.

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