[WRN_HUMAN] Defects in WRN are a cause of Werner syndrome (WRN) [MIM:277700]. WRN is a rare autosomal recessive progeroid syndrome characterized by the premature onset of multiple age-related disorders, including atherosclerosis, cancer, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, ocular cataracts and osteoporosis. The major cause of death, at a median age of 47, is myocardial infarction. Currently all known WS mutations produces prematurely terminated proteins. Defects in WRN may be a cause of colorectal cancer (CRC) [MIM:114500].
[WRN_HUMAN] Multifunctional enzyme that has both magnesium and ATP-dependent DNA-helicase activity and 3'->5' exonuclease activity towards double-stranded DNA with a 5'-overhang. Has no nuclease activity towards single-stranded DNA or blunt-ended double-stranded DNA. Binds preferentially to DNA substrates containing alternate secondary structures, such as replication forks and Holliday junctions. May play an important role in the dissociation of joint DNA molecules that can arise as products of homologous recombination, at stalled replication forks or during DNA repair. Alleviates stalling of DNA polymerases at the site of DNA lesions. Important for genomic integrity. Plays a role in the formation of DNA replication focal centers; stably associates with foci elements generating binding sites for RP-A (By similarity).    
Publication Abstract from PubMed
WRN is unique among the five human RecQ DNA helicases in having a functional exonuclease domain (WRN-exo) and being defective in the premature aging and cancer-related disorder Werner syndrome. Here, we characterize WRN-exo crystal structures, biochemical activity and participation in DNA end joining. Metal-ion complex structures, active site mutations and activity assays reveal a nuclease mechanism mediated by two metal ions. The DNA end-binding Ku70/80 complex specifically stimulates WRN-exo activity, and structure-based mutational inactivation of WRN-exo alters DNA end joining in human cells. We furthermore establish structural and biochemical similarities of WRN-exo to DnaQ-family replicative proofreading exonucleases, describing WRN-specific adaptations consistent with double-stranded DNA specificity and functionally important conformational changes. These results indicate WRN-exo is a human DnaQ family member and support DnaQ-like proofreading activities stimulated by Ku70/80, with implications for WRN functions in age-related pathologies and maintenance of genomic integrity.
WRN exonuclease structure and molecular mechanism imply an editing role in DNA end processing.,Perry JJ, Yannone SM, Holden LG, Hitomi C, Asaithamby A, Han S, Cooper PK, Chen DJ, Tainer JA Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2006 May;13(5):414-22. Epub 2006 Apr 23. PMID:16622405
From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.