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DONSON encodes a novel replication fork protection factor mutated in microcephalic dwarfism.

To ensure efficient genome duplication, cells have evolved a multitude of factors that promote unperturbed DNA replication, and protect, repair and restart damaged forks. Here we identify DONSON as a novel fork protection factor, and report biallelic DONSON mutations in 29 individuals with microcephalic dwarfism. We demonstrate that DONSON is a component of the replisome that stabilises forks during normal genome replication. Loss of DONSON leads to severe replication-associated DNA damage arising from nucleolytic cleavage of stalled replication forks. Furthermore, ATR-dependent signalling in response to replication stress is impaired in DONSON-deficient cells, resulting in decreased checkpoint activity, and potentiating chromosomal instability. Hypomorphic mutations substantially reduce DONSON protein levels and impair fork stability in patient cells, consistent with defective DNA replication underlying the disease phenotype. In summary, we identify mutations in DONSON as a common cause of microcephalic dwarfism, and establish DONSON as a critical replication fork protein required for mammalian DNA replication and genome stability.

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Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001003160 Illumina HiSeq 2000 15
Publications Citations
Mutations in DONSON disrupt replication fork stability and cause microcephalic dwarfism.
Nat Genet 49: 2017 537-549