Fragile sites appear as breaks, gaps, or decondensations on metaphase chromosomes when cells are grown under specific culture conditions. The breaks are nonrandom, appearing in defined, conserved locations throughout the mammalian genome. Common fragile sites, as their name implies, are present in virtually all individuals. With three common fragile sites cloned, their mechanism of expression and the role, if any, they play in human disease are still unclear. We have assembled a BAC contig of >1 Mb across the second most active common fragile site, FRA16D (16q23.2). We fluorescently labeled these BACs and used them as probes on metaphases from aphidicolin-induced lymphocytes and demonstrated that FRA16D decondensation/breakage occurs over a region of at least 1 Mb. Thus, this is the largest common fragile site cloned to date. Microsatellite markers that map within FRA16D show a very high loss in prostate, breast, and ovarian tumors, indicating that loss within this fragile site may be important in the development or progression of these tumors. In addition, a common t(14q32; 16q23) translocation is observed in up to 25% of all multiple myelomas (MM). We localized four of four such cloned t(14;16) MM breakpoints within the FRA16D region. This work further demonstrates that the common fragile sites may play an important role in cancer development. (C) 2000 Academic Press.
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