Patients with breast and/or ovarian cancer were screened for gross rearrangements in the BRCA2 gene by Southern hybridization, with exon 10 and a fragment of exon 11 used as probes. One breast cancer patient with a positive family history had a 6.2-kb deletion including exons 12 and 13. The deletion breakpoint in intron 11 was in the 3' polyA tail of an Alu element, where a track of approximately 60 adenine nucleotide residues was inserted. Expansion of the Alu-polyA tail may have resulted from polymerase slippage during replication, representing a novel mechanism in which Alu elements mediate deletion/insertion mutations.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.