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J Biol Chem. 2000 Feb 11;275(6):4532-6.

Regulation of BRCA1 expression by the Rb-E2F pathway.

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Department of Carcinogenesis, University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas 78957, USA.


Inheritance of a mutant allele of the breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 confers increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Likewise, inheritance of a mutant allele of the retinoblastoma susceptibility gene (RB1) results in the development of retinoblastoma and/or osteosarcoma, and both alleles are often mutated or inactivated in sporadic forms of these and other cancers. We now demonstrate that the product of the RB1 gene, Rb, regulates the expression of the murine Brca1 and human BRCA1 genes through its ability to modulate E2F transcriptional activity. The Brca1 gene is identified as an in vivo target of E2F1 in a transgenic mouse model. The Brca1 promoter contains E2F DNA-binding sites that mediate transcriptional activation by E2F1 and repression by Rb. Moreover, ectopic expression of cyclin D1 and Cdk4 can stimulate the Brca1 promoter in an E2F-dependent manner, and this is inhibited by coexpression of the p16(INK4a) cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. The human BRCA1 promoter also contains a conserved E2F site and is similarly regulated by E2F1 and Rb. This functional link between the BRCA1 and Rb tumor suppressors may provide insight into the mechanism by which BRCA1 inactivation contributes to cancer development.

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