Mechanism of chromosome rearrangement arising from single-strand breaks

Palina Kot, Takaaki Yasuhara, Atsushi Shibata, Miyako Hirakawa, Yu Abe, Motohiro Yamauchi, Naoki Matsuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Chromosome rearrangements, which are structural chromosomal abnormalities commonly found in human cancer, result from the misrejoining between two or more DNA double-strand breaks arising at different genomic regions. Consequently, chromosome rearrangements can generate fusion genes that promote tumorigenesis. The mechanisms of chromosome rearrangement have been studied using exogenous double-strand break inducers, such as radiation and nucleases. However, the mechanism underlying the occurrence of chromosome rearrangements in the absence of exogenous double-strand break-inducing stimuli is unclear. This study aimed to identify the major source of chromosome rearrangements and the DNA repair pathway that suppresses them. DNA repair factors that potentially suppress gene fusion were screened using The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset. In total, 22 repair factors whose expression levels were negatively correlated with the frequency of gene fusion were identified. More than 60% of these repair factors are involved in homologous recombination, a major double-strand break repair pathway. We hypothesized that DNA single-strand breaks are the source of double-strand breaks that lead to chromosome rearrangements. This study demonstrated that hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced single-strand breaks gave rise to double-strand breaks in a replication-dependent manner. Additionally, H2O2 induced the formation of RPA and RAD51 foci, which indicated that double-strand breaks derived from single-strand breaks were repaired through homologous recombination. Moreover, treatment with H2O2 promoted the formation of radial chromosomes, a type of chromosome rearrangements, only upon the downregulation of homologous recombination factors, such as BRCA1 and CtIP. Thus, single-strand breaks are the major source of chromosome rearrangements when the expression of homologous recombination factors is downregulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromosome rearrangement
  • Double-strand breaks
  • Homologous recombination
  • Replication
  • Single-strand breaks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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