The chromosomes in our B cells mutate and delete DNA fragments to diversify the sequences that encode antibodies. Occasionally, these rearrangements can occur erroneously between two chromosomes and cause unwanted mutations, called translocations, triggering the formation of B-cell lymphomas, a group of aggressive blood tumours. Researchers in the lab of Rushad Pavri at the IMP have discovered why some cancer-related genes are prone to these accidental translocations: during the cell cycle, they replicate at the same time and come closer together, leading to the unwanted chromosome rearrangement. The findings, now published in the journal Science, demonstrate for the first time how the timing of replication orchestrates the translocation of tumour-forming genes.
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