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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 May 28;99(11):7560-5.

BRCA1 transcriptionally regulates genes involved in breast tumorigenesis.

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Department of Medicine and Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Health Sciences Room K-160, Seattle, WA 98195-7720, USA.


Loss of function of BRCA1 caused by inherited mutation and tissue-specific somatic mutation leads to breast and ovarian cancer. Nearly all BRCA1 germ-line mutations involve truncation or loss of the C-terminal BRCT transcriptional activation domain, suggesting that transcriptional regulation is a critical function of the wild-type gene. The purpose of this project was to determine whether there is a link between the role of BRCA1 in transcriptional regulation and its role in tumor suppression. We developed a cell line (in which BRCA1 can be induced) and used microarray analysis to compare transcription profiles of epithelial cells with low endogenous levels of BRCA1 vs. transcription profiles of cells with 2-4-fold higher induced levels of expression of BRCA1. At these levels of expression, BRCA1 did not induce apoptosis. Undirected cluster analysis of six paired experiments revealed 373 genes, the expression of which was altered significantly and consistently by BRCA1 induction. Expression of 62 genes was altered more than 2-fold. BRCA1-regulated genes associated with breast tumorigenesis included the estrogen-responsive genes MYC and cyclin D1, which are overexpressed in many breast tumors; STAT1 and JAK1, key components of the cytokine signal transduction pathway; the extracellular matrix protein laminin 3A; ID4, an inhibitor of DNA-binding transcriptional activators, which in turn negatively regulates BRCA1 expression; and the prohormone stanniocalcin, expression of which is lost in breast tumor cells. Coordinated expression of BRCA1 with ID4 and with stanniocalcin was confirmed in primary breast and ovarian tumors.

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