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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Jan;40(2):726-38. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr748. Epub 2011 Sep 27.

A dual role of BRCA1 in two distinct homologous recombination mediated repair in response to replication arrest.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Oncology, Washington University School of Medicine, 4511 Forest Park Boulevard, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.


Homologous recombination (HR) is a major mechanism utilized to repair blockage of DNA replication forks. Here, we report that a sister chromatid exchange (SCE) generated by crossover-associated HR efficiently occurs in response to replication fork stalling before any measurable DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Interestingly, SCE produced by replication fork collapse following DNA DSBs creation is specifically suppressed by ATR, a central regulator of the replication checkpoint. BRCA1 depletion leads to decreased RPA2 phosphorylation (RPA2-P) following replication fork stalling but has no obvious effect on RPA2-P following replication fork collapse. Importantly, we found that BRCA1 promotes RAD51 recruitment and SCE induced by replication fork stalling independent of ATR. In contrast, BRCA1 depletion leads to a more profound defect in RAD51 recruitment and SCE induced by replication fork collapse when ATR is depleted. We concluded that BRCA1 plays a dual role in two distinct HR-mediated repair upon replication fork stalling and collapse. Our data established a molecular basis for the observation that defective BRCA1 leads to a high sensitivity to agents that cause replication blocks without being associated with DSBs, and also implicate a novel mechanism by which loss of cell cycle checkpoints promotes BRCA1-associated tumorigenesis via enhancing HR defect resulting from BRCA1 deficiency.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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