The SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex: Its role in maintaining genome stability and preventing tumourigenesis

DNA Repair (Amst). 2015 Aug;32:127-133. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2015.04.023. Epub 2015 May 1.


Genes encoding subunits of the two SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complexes (BAF and PBAF) are mutated in almost 20% of all human cancers. In addition to a role in regulating transcription, recent work from our laboratory and others identified roles for both complexes in DNA damage responses and the maintenance of sister chromatid cohesion, which may have profound impacts on genome stability and contribute to its role as a tumour suppressor. Here, we review some of the transcription-independent functions of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling complex and discuss these in light of their potential relevance to tumourigenesis.

Keywords: BAF180; BRG1; Chromatin remodelling complex; Cohesion; DNA damage induced transcriptional repression; Genome instability; PBAF; SWI/SNF; Tumourigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • DNA Damage
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Helicases / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Genomic Instability*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Neoplasms / pathology
  • Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Sister Chromatid Exchange
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • BANF1 protein, human
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • SWI-SNF-B chromatin-remodeling complex
  • Transcription Factors
  • SMARCA4 protein, human
  • DNA Helicases