Michael W. Killen

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FANCM is a Fanconi anemia nuclear core complex protein required for the functional integrity of the FANC-BRCA pathway of DNA damage response and repair. Here we report the isolation and characterization of two histone-fold-containing FANCM-associated proteins, MHF1 and MHF2. We show that suppression of MHF1 expression results in (1) destabilization of FANCM(More)
Telomerase, a specialized reverse transcriptase (RT) linked to cell immortalization and cancer, has been thought not to be expressed in postmitotic cells. We now report that telomerase activity and its essential catalytic subunit, telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT), are expressed in neurons in the brains of rodents during embryonic and early postnatal(More)
Telomerase is a protein-RNA enzyme complex that adds a six-base DNA sequence (TTAGGG) to the ends of chromosomes and thereby prevents their shortening. Reduced telomerase activity is associated with cell differentiation and accelerated cellular senescence, whereas increased telomerase activity is associated with cell transformation and immortalization.(More)
The finishing of the Human Genome Project largely completed the detailing of human euchromatic sequences; however, the most highly repetitive regions of the genome still could not be assembled. The 12 gene clusters producing the structural RNA components of the ribosome are critically important for cellular viability, yet fall into this unassembled region(More)
The gene that produces the precursor RNA transcript to the three largest structural rRNA molecules (rDNA) is present in multiple copies and organized into gene clusters. The 10 human rDNA clusters represent <0.5% of the diploid human genome but are critically important for cellular viability. Individual genes within rDNA clusters possess very high levels of(More)
The NCI-60 is a collection of tumor cell lines derived from a variety of human adult cancer tissue types and is commonly used for genetic analysis and screening of potential chemotherapeutic agents. We wanted to understand the contributions of specific mechanisms of genomic instability to the etiology of cancers represented by the NCI-60. We screened the(More)
A fully optimized staining method for detecting sister chromatid exchanges in cultured cells is presented. The method gives reproducibly robust quantitative results. Sister chromatid exchange is a classic toxicology assay for genotoxicity and for detecting alterations to the biochemistry underlying cellular homologous recombination. Growth of cells in the(More)
Bloom syndrome confers strong predisposition to malignancy in multiple tissue types. The Bloom syndrome patient (BLM) protein defective in the disease biochemically functions as a Holliday junction dissolvase and human cells lacking functional BLM show 10-fold elevated rates of sister chromatid exchange. Collectively, these phenomena suggest that(More)
Defects in the human BLM gene cause Bloom syndrome, notable for early development of tumors in a broad variety of tissues. On the basis of sequence similarity, BLM has been identified as one of the five human homologs of RecQ from Escherichia coli. Nevertheless, biochemical characterization of the BLM protein indicates far greater functional similarity to(More)
The GAGE protein is detected only in cancer and in testis and is expressed from a cluster of nearly identical gene copies on the X-chromosome. We determined the lengths of these GAGE gene clusters from human families, identical twins, and in clinical samples from cancer patients. The GAGE cluster lengths proved to be highly heterogeneous, ranging from 13 to(More)