Replication delay along FRA7H, a common fragile site on human chromosome 7, leads to chromosomal instability

Asaf Hellman, Ayelet Rahat, Stephen W. Scherer, Ariel Darvasi, Lap Chee Tsui, Batsheva Kerem*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Common fragile sites are specific chromosomal loci that show gaps, breaks, or rearrangements in metaphase chromosomes under conditions that interfere with DNA replication. The mechanism underlying the chromosomal instability at fragile sites was hypothesized to associate with late replication time. Here, we aimed to investigate the replication pattern of the common fragile site FRA7H, encompassing 160 kb on the long arm of human chromosome 7. Using in situ hybridization on interphase nuclei, we revealed that the replication of this region is initiated relatively early, before 30% of S phase is completed. However, a high fraction (~35%) of S-phase nuclei showed allelic asynchrony, indicating that the replication of FRA7H is accomplished at different times in S phase. This allelic asynchrony is not the result of a specific replication time of each FRA7H allele. Analysis of the replication pattern of adjacent clones along FRA7H by using cell population and two-color fluorescent in situ hybridization analyses showed significant differences in the replication of adjacent clones, under normal growth condition and upon aphidicolin treatment. This pattern significantly differed from that of two nonfragile regions which showed a coordinated replication under both conditions. These results indicate that aphidicolin is enhancing an already existing difference in the replication time along the FRA7H region. Based on our replication analysis of FRA7H and on previous analysis of the common fragile site FRA3B, we suggest that delayed replication is underlying the fragility at aphidicolin-induced common fragile sites.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)4420-4427
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jun 2000


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