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Nucleic Acids Res. 2003 Feb 15;31(4):1148-55.

Characterization of Arabidopsis thaliana ortholog of the human breast cancer susceptibility gene 1: AtBRCA1, strongly induced by gamma rays.

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CEA Cadarache, DSV-DEVM, Laboratoire de Radiobiologie Végétale, Bat 185, F-13108 St Paul Lez Durance Cedex, France.


hBRCA1 is involved in 20-45% of inherited breast cancer cases and is implicated in many mechanisms involved in response to DNA damage. To date, BRCA1 orthologs have been characterized in vertebrate genomes only. We have identified the ortholog of BRCA1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. AtBRCA1 is a 5.5 kb part of the locus At4g21070. The corresponding mRNA of 3.5 kb is composed of 14 exons and encodes a 941 amino acid protein (104 kDa). AtBRCA1, which has one N-terminal RING finger, two C-terminal BRCT and the p300/CBP interacting domain, shows a high similarity to hBRCA1 in these motifs and has the same characteristic molecular organization. We have also identified a putative ortholog in rice (OsBRCA1). With 941 and 968 amino acids, respectively, AtBRCA1 and OsBRCA1 are the shortest members of the BRCA1 family, and may represent a plant specificity. AtBRCA1 is expressed ubiquitously in plant tissues, at levels depending on organ type, with highest levels in flower buds and exponentially growing cell cultures. Increase of mRNA levels in all plant tissues 1 h after irradiation with the highest induction level of approximately 150 times for a 100 Gy dose is consistent with a putative role of AtBRCA1 in DNA repair and in cell-cycle control.

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