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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

RAD51 up-regulation bypasses BRCA1 function and is a common feature of BRCA1-deficient breast tumors.

The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 encodes a large protein thought to contribute to a variety of cellular processes, although the critical determinants of BRCA1-deficient tumorigenesis remain unclear. Given that BRCA1 is required for cell proliferation, suppressor mutations are believed to modify BRCA1 phenotypes and contribute to the etiology of BRCA1-deficient tumors. Here, we show that overexpression of the homologous recombinase RAD51 in a DT40 BRCA1Delta/Delta mutant rescues defects in proliferation, DNA damage survival, and homologous recombination (HR). In addition, epistasis analysis with BRCA1 and the DNA end-joining factor KU70 indicates that these factors operate independently of one another to repair double-strand breaks. Consistent with this genetic finding, cell synchronization studies show that the ability of BRCA1 to promote radioresistance is restricted to the late S and G2 phases of the cell cycle, as predicted for genes whose function is specific to homology-mediated repair rather than nonhomologous end-joining. Notably, retrospective analyses of microarray expression data reveal elevated expression of RAD51 and two of its late-acting cofactors, RAD54 and RAD51AP1, in BRCA1-deficient versus sporadic breast tumors. Taken together, our results indicate that up-regulation of HR provides a permissive genetic context for cells lacking BRCA1 function by circumventing its requirement in RAD51 subnuclear assembly. Furthermore, the data support a model in which enhanced HR activity contributes to the etiology of BRCA1-deficient tumors.[1]


  1. RAD51 up-regulation bypasses BRCA1 function and is a common feature of BRCA1-deficient breast tumors. Martin, R.W., Orelli, B.J., Yamazoe, M., Minn, A.J., Takeda, S., Bishop, D.K. Cancer Res. (2007) [Pubmed]
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