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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Jan;17(1):444-52.

Localization of BRCA1 and a splice variant identifies the nuclear localization signal.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104, USA.


Inherited mutations in BRCA1 confer susceptibility to breast and ovarian neoplasms. However, the function of BRCA1 and the role of BRCA1 in noninherited cancer remain unknown. Characterization of alternately spliced forms of BRCA1 may identify functional regions; thus, we constructed expression vectors of BRCA1 and a splice variant lacking exon 11, designated BRCA1 delta 672-4095. Immunofluorescence studies indicate nuclear localization of BRCA1 but cytoplasmic localization of BRCA1 delta 672-4095. Two putative nuclear localization signals (designated NLS1 and NLS2) were identified in exon 11; immunofluorescence studies indicate that only NLS1 is required for nuclear localization. RNA analysis indicates the expression of multiple, tissue-specific forms of BRCA1 RNAs; protein analysis with multiple antibodies suggests that at least three BRCA1 isoforms are expressed, including those lacking exon 11. The results suggest that BRCA1 is a nuclear protein and raise the possibility that splicing is one form of regulation of BRCA1 function by alteration of the subcellular localization of expressed proteins.

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