Failure to complete DNA replication is one of the major sources of genome instability leading to aneuploidy, chromosome breakage, and chromosome rearrangements that are associated with human cancer. One of the surprising revelations of the past decade is that the completion of replication at so-called common fragile sites (CFS) occurs very late in the cell cycle - at mitosis - through a process termed MiDAS (mitotic DNA synthesis). MiDAS is strongly related to another cancer-promoting phenomenon: the activation of alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT). Our understanding of the mechanisms of ALT and MiDAS in mammalian cells has drawn heavily from recent advances in the study of break-induced replication (BIR), especially in budding yeast. We provide new insights into the BIR, MiDAS, and ALT pathways and their shared similarities.
Keywords: alternative lengthening of telomeres (ALT); break-induced replication (BIR); homologous recombination; mitotic DNA synthesis (MiDAS).
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