Warsaw Breakage Syndrome associated DDX11 helicase resolves G-quadruplex structures to support sister chromatid cohesion

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Janne van Schie
  • Atiq Faramarz
  • Jesper Balk
  • Erika Cantelli
  • Anneke Oostra
  • Martin Rooimans
  • Cynthia de Almeida Esteves
  • Katja Dumic
  • Ingeborg Barisic
  • Karin Diderich
  • Marjon van Slegtenhorst
  • Mohammad Mahtab
  • Francesca Pisani
  • Hein te Riele
  • Najim Ameziane
  • Rob Wolthuis
  • Job de Lange

Colleges, School and Institutes


Warsaw Breakage Syndrome (WABS) is a rare disorder related to cohesinopathies and Fanconi anemia, caused by bi-allelic mutations in DDX11. Here, we report multiple compound heterozygous WABS cases, each displaying destabilized DDX11 protein and residual DDX11 function at the cellular level. Patient-derived cell lines exhibit sensitivity to topoisomerase and PARP inhibitors, defective sister chromatid cohesion and reduced DNA replication fork speed. Deleting DDX11 in RPE1-TERT cells inhibits proliferation and survival in a TP53-dependent manner and causes chromosome breaks and cohesion defects, independent of the expressed pseudogene DDX12p. Importantly, G-quadruplex (G4) stabilizing compounds induce chromosome breaks and cohesion defects which are strongly aggravated by inactivation of DDX11 but not FANCJ. The DNA helicase domain of DDX11 is essential for sister chromatid cohesion and resistance to G4 stabilizers. We propose that DDX11 is a DNA helicase protecting against G4 induced double-stranded breaks and concomitant loss of cohesion, possibly at DNA replication forks.

Bibliographic note

M1 - 4287


Original languageEnglish
Article number4287
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2020