Cloning and characterization of the common fragile site FRA6F harboring a replicative senescence gene and frequently deleted in human tumors

Cristina Morelli, Efthimia Karayianni, Chiara Magnanini, Andrew J. Mungall, Erik C Thorland, Massimo Negrini, David I Smith, Giuseppe Barbanti-Brodano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

70 Scopus citations


The common fragile site FRA6F, located at 6q21, is an extended region of about 1200 kb, with two hot spots of breakage each spanning about 200 kb. Transcription mapping of the FRA6F region identified 19 known genes, 10 within the FRA6F interval and nine in a proximal or distal position. The nucleotide sequence of FRA6F is rich in repetitive elements (LINE1 and LINE2, Alu, MIR, MER and endogenous retroviral sequences) as well as in matrix attachment regions (MARs), and shows several DNA segments with increased helix flexibility. We found that tight clusters of stem-loop structures were localized exclusively in the two regions with greater frequency of breakage. Chromosomal instability at FRA6F probably depends on a complex interaction of different factors, involving regions of greater DNA flexibility and MARs. We propose an additional mechanism of fragility at FRA6F, based on stem-loop structures which may cause delay or arrest in DNA replication. A senescence gene likely maps within FRA6F, as suggested by detection of deletion and translocation breakpoints involving this fragile site in immortal human-mouse cell hybrids and in SV40-immortalized human fibroblasts containing a human chromosome 6 deleted at q21. Deletion breakpoints within FRA6F are common in several types of human leukemias and solid tumors, suggesting the presence of a tumor suppressor gene in the region. Moreover, a gene associated to hereditary schizophrenia maps within FRA6F. Therefore, FRA6F may represent a landmark for the identification and cloning of genes involved in senescence, leukemia, cancer and schizophrenia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7266-7276
Number of pages11
Issue number47
StatePublished - Oct 17 2002



  • Chromosome 6q21
  • FRA6F
  • Fragile sites
  • Human tumors
  • Schizophrenia
  • Senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics

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