Chromosomal aberrations are often associated with incomplete genome duplication, for instance at common fragile sites, or as a consequence of chemical alterations in the DNA template that block replication forks. Studies of the cancer-prone disease Fanconi anaemia (FA) have provided important insights into the resolution of replication problems. The repair of interstrand DNA crosslinks induced by chemotherapy drugs is coupled with DNA replication and controlled by FA proteins. We discuss here the recent discovery of new FA-associated proteins and the development of new tractable repair systems that have dramatically improved our understanding of crosslink repair. We focus also on how FA proteins protect against replication failure in the context of fragile sites and on the identification of reactive metabolites that account for the development of Fanconi anaemia symptoms.
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