Diagnosis of Fanconi Anaemia by ionising radiation- or mitomycin C-induced micronuclei

DNA Repair (Amst). 2018 Jan:61:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2017.11.001. Epub 2017 Nov 8.


Fanconi Anaemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterised by defects in DNA repair, associated with chromosomal instability and cellular hypersensitivity to DNA cross-linking agents such as mitomycin C (MMC). The FA repair pathway involves complex DNA repair mechanisms crucial for genomic stability. Deficiencies in DNA repair genes give rise to chromosomal radiosensitivity. FA patients have shown increased clinical radiosensitivity by exhibiting adverse normal tissue side-effects. The study aimed to investigate chromosomal radiosensitivity of homozygous and heterozygous carriers of FA mutations using three micronucleus (MN) assays. The G0 and S/G2MN assays are cytogenetic assays to evaluate DNA damage induced by ionising radiation in different phases of the cell cycle. The MMC MN assay detects DNA damage induced by a crosslinking agent in the G0 phase. Patients with a clinical diagnosis of FA and their parents were screened for the complete coding region of 20 FA genes. Blood samples of all FA patients and parents were exposed to ionising radiation of 2 and 4Gy. Chromosomal radiosensitivity was evaluated in the G0 and S/G2 phase. Most of our patients were homozygous for the founder mutation FANCG c.637_643delTACCGCC; p.(Tyr213Lysfs*6) while one patient was compound heterozygous for FANCG c.637_643delTACCGCC and FANCG c.1379G > A, p.(Gly460Asp), a novel missense mutation. Another patient was compound heterozygous for two deleterious FANCA mutations. In FA patients, the G0- and S/G2-MN assays show significantly increased chromosomal radiosensitivity and genomic instability. Moreover, chromosomal damage was significantly elevated in MMC treated FA cells. We also observed an increase in chromosomal radiosensitivity and genomic instability in the parents using 3 assays. The effect was significant using the MMC MN assay. The MMC MN assay is advantageous as it is less labour intense, time effective and has potential as a reliable alternative method for detecting FA patients from parents and controls.

Keywords: Chromosomal radiosensitivity; DNA repair; Fanconi Anaemia; Genomic instability; Radiosensitivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Cycle
  • Child
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Repair
  • Fanconi Anemia / diagnosis*
  • Fanconi Anemia / genetics*
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group A Protein / genetics
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group G Protein / genetics
  • Female
  • Genomic Instability
  • Germ-Line Mutation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / drug effects*
  • Micronuclei, Chromosome-Defective / radiation effects*
  • Micronucleus Tests*
  • Middle Aged
  • Mitomycin / pharmacology*
  • Mutation
  • Radiation Tolerance / genetics
  • Radiation, Ionizing*
  • Young Adult


  • FANCA protein, human
  • FANCG protein, human
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group A Protein
  • Fanconi Anemia Complementation Group G Protein
  • Mitomycin