RECON syndrome is a genome instability disorder caused by mutations in the DNA helicase RECQL1

Bassam Abu-Libdeh, Satpal S Jhujh, Srijita Dhar, Joshua A Sommers, Arindam Datta, Gabriel M C Longo, Laura J Grange, John J Reynolds, Sophie L Cooke, Gavin S McNee, Robert Hollingworth, Beth L Woodward, Anil N Ganesh, Stephen J Smerdon, Claudia M Nicolae, Karina Durlacher-Betzer, Vered Molho-Pessach, Abdulsalam Abu-Libdeh, Vardiella Meiner, George-Lucian MoldovanVassilis Roukos, Tamar Harel, Robert M Brosh, Grant S Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite being the first homolog of the bacterial RecQ helicase to be identified in humans, the function of RECQL1 remains poorly characterized. Furthermore, unlike other members of the human RECQ family of helicases, mutations in RECQL1 have not been associated with a genetic disease. Here, we identify 2 families with a genome instability disorder that we have named RECON (RECql ONe) syndrome, caused by biallelic mutations in the RECQL gene. The affected individuals had short stature, progeroid facial features, a hypoplastic nose, xeroderma, and skin photosensitivity and were homozygous for the same missense mutation in RECQL1 (p.Ala459Ser), located within its zinc binding domain. Biochemical analysis of the mutant RECQL1 protein revealed that the p.A459S missense mutation compromised its ATPase, helicase, and fork restoration activity, while its capacity to promote single-strand DNA annealing was largely unaffected. At the cellular level, this mutation in RECQL1 gave rise to a defect in the ability to repair DNA damage induced by exposure to topoisomerase poisons and a failure of DNA replication to progress efficiently in the presence of abortive topoisomerase lesions. Taken together, RECQL1 is the fourth member of the RecQ family of helicases to be associated with a human genome instability disorder.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere147301
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number5
Early online date13 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2022, Abu-Libdeh et al. This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


  • Breast Neoplasms
  • DNA Replication
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genomic Instability
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • RecQ Helicases/genetics


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