It has been unclear why certain defined DNA regions are consistently sites of chromosomal translocations. Some of these are simply sequences of recognition by endogenous recombination enzymes, but most are not. Recent progress indicates that some of the most common fragile sites in human neoplasm assume non-B DNA structures, namely deviations from the Watson-Crick helix. Because of the single strandedness within these non-B structures, they are vulnerable to structure-specific nucleases. Here we summarize these findings and integrate them with other recent data for non-B structures at sites of consistent constitutional chromosomal translocations.
2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.