Cells coordinate interphase-to-mitosis transition, but recurrent cytogenetic lesions appear at common fragile sites (CFSs), termed CFS expression, in a tissue-specific manner after replication stress, marking regions of instability in cancer. Despite such a distinct defect, no model fully provides a molecular explanation for CFSs. We show that CFSs are characterized by impaired chromatin folding, manifesting as disrupted mitotic structures visible with molecular fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) probes in the presence and absence of replication stress. Chromosome condensation assays reveal that compaction-resistant chromatin lesions persist at CFSs throughout the cell cycle and mitosis. Cytogenetic and molecular lesions are marked by faulty condensin loading at CFSs, a defect in condensin-I-mediated compaction, and are coincident with mitotic DNA synthesis (MIDAS). This model suggests that, in conditions of exogenous replication stress, aberrant condensin loading leads to molecular defects and CFS expression, concomitantly providing an environment for MIDAS, which, if not resolved, results in chromosome instability.
Keywords: chromatin; chromosome; common fragile sites; condensation; condensin; genome stability; replication; replication stress.
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