Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The Bloom syndrome helicase BLM interacts with topoisomerase IIIα (TOP3A), RMI1, and RMI2 to form the BTR complex, which dissolves double Holliday junctions and DNA replication intermediates to promote sister chromatid disjunction before cell division. In its absence, structure-specific nucleases like the SMX complex (comprising SLX1-SLX4, MUS81-EME1, and XPF-ERCC1) can cleave joint DNA molecules instead, but cells deficient in both BTR and SMX are not viable. Here, we identify a negative genetic interaction between BLM loss and deficiency in the BRCA1-BARD1 tumor suppressor complex. We show that this is due to a previously overlooked role for BARD1 in recruiting SLX4 to resolve DNA intermediates left unprocessed by BLM in the preceding interphase. Consequently, cells with defective BLM and BRCA1-BARD1 accumulate catastrophic levels of chromosome breakage and micronucleation, leading to cell death. Thus, we reveal mechanistic insights into SLX4 recruitment to DNA lesions, with potential clinical implications for treating BRCA1-deficient tumors.

Original publication




Journal article


Mol Cell

Publication Date



BARD1, BLM, BRCA1, Bloom syndrome, DNA repair, MUS81, RECQL5, SLX4, double Holliday junction, homologous recombination