RecQ Helicases: Conserved Guardians of Genomic Integrity

  • Nicolai Balle Larsen
  • Ian D. HicksonEmail author
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 767)


The RecQ family of DNA helicases is highly conserved throughout ­evolution, and is important for the maintenance of genome stability. In humans, five RecQ family members have been identified: BLM, WRN, RECQ4, RECQ1 and RECQ5. Defects in three of these give rise to Bloom’s syndrome (BLM), Werner’s syndrome (WRN) and Rothmund–Thomson/RAPADILINO/Baller–Gerold (RECQ4) syndromes. These syndromes are characterised by cancer predisposition and/or premature ageing. In this review, we focus on the roles of BLM and its S. cerevisiae homologue, Sgs1, in genome maintenance. BLM/Sgs1 has been shown to play a critical role in homologous recombination at multiple steps, including end-resection, displacement loop formation, branch migration and double Holliday junction dissolution. In addition, recent evidence has revealed a role for BLM/Sgs1 in the stabilisation and repair of replication forks damaged during a perturbed S-phase. Finally BLM also plays a role in the suppression and/or resolution of ultra-fine anaphase DNA bridges that form between sister-chromatids during mitosis.


Homologous Recombination Helicase Activity Holliday Junction RecQ Helicases ssDNA Binding 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Dr Hocine Mankouri for helpful comments on this article. Work in the authors’ laboratory is supported by the Nordea Foundation, The Danish Cancer Society, the Danish Medical Research Council (FSS), The Association for International Cancer Research (AICR) and The Novo Nordisk Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Nordea Center for Healthy Ageing, Department of Cellular and Molecular MedicineUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark

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