The Bloom's syndrome gene product is a 3'-5' DNA helicase.
Karow JK., Chakraverty RK., Hickson ID.
Bloom's syndrome (BS) is an autosomal recessive condition characterized by short stature, immunodeficiency, and a greatly elevated frequency of many types of cancer. The gene mutated in BS, BLM, encodes a protein containing seven "signature" motifs conserved in a wide range of DNA and RNA helicases. BLM is most closely related to the subfamily of DEXH box-containing DNA helicases of which the prototypical member is Escherichia coli RecQ. To analyze its biochemical properties, we have overexpressed an oligohistidine-tagged version of the BLM gene product in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and purified the protein to apparent homogeneity using nickel chelate affinity chromatography. The recombinant BLM protein possesses an ATPase activity that is strongly stimulated by either single- or double-stranded DNA. Moreover, BLM exhibits ATP- and Mg2+-dependent DNA helicase activity that displays 3'-5' directionality. Because many of the mutations in BS individuals are predicted to truncate the BLM protein and thus eliminate the "helicase" motifs or map to conserved positions within these motifs, our data strongly suggest that these mutations will disable the 3'-5' helicase function of the BLM protein.