BACH1 is critical for homologous recombination and appears to be the Fanconi anemia gene product FANCJ.
Fanconi anemia (FA) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by developmental defects, bone marrow failure, and cancer susceptibility. Cells derived from FA patients are sensitive to crosslinking agents and have a prolonged G2 phase, suggesting a cell cycle abnormality. Although transfection of type-C FA cells with the FAC cDNA corrects these cellular abnormalities, the molecular function of the FAC polypeptide remains unknown. In the current study we show that expression of the FAC polypeptide is regulated during cell cycle progression. In synchronized HeLa cells, FAC protein expression increased during S phase, was maximal at the G2/M transition, and declined during M phase. In addition, the FAC protein coimmunoprecipitated with the cyclin-dependent kinase, cdc2. We next tested various mutant forms of the FAC polypeptide for binding to cdc2. A patient-derived mutant FAC polypeptide, containing a point mutation at L554P, failed to bind to cdc2. The FAC/cdc2 binding interaction therefore correlated with the functional activity of the FAC protein. Moreover, binding of FAC to cdc2 was mediated by the carboxyl-terminal 50 amino acids of FAC in a region of the protein required for FAC function. Taken together, our results suggest that the binding of FAC and cdc2 is required for normal G2/M progression in mammalian cells. Absence of a functional interaction between FAC and cdc2 in FA cells may underlie the cell cycle abnormality and clinical abnormalities of FA.