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Oncogene. 2003 Aug 21;22(35):5415-26.

Tumor formation in mice with conditional inactivation of Brca1 in epithelial tissues.

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Department of Carcinogenesis, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Science Park-Research Division, Smithville, TX 78957, USA.


The BRCA1 tumor-suppressor protein has been implicated in the regulation of transcription, DNA repair, proliferation, and apoptosis. BRCA1 is expressed in many proliferative tissues and this is at least in part due to E2F-dependent transcriptional control. In this study, inactivation of a conditional murine Brca1 allele was achieved in a variety of epithelial tissues via expression of the Cre recombinase under the control of a keratin 5 (K5) promoter. The K5 Cre:Brca1 conditional knockout mice exhibited modest epidermal hyperproliferation, increased apoptosis, and were predisposed to developing tumors in the skin, the inner ear canal, and the oral epithelium after 1 year of age. Overexpression of the E2F1 transcription factor in K5 Cre:Brca1 conditional knockout mice dramatically accelerated tumor development. In addition, Brca1 heterozygous female mice that had elevated E2F1 expression developed tumors of the reproductive tract at high incidence. These findings demonstrate that in mice Brca1 functions as a tumor suppressor in other epithelial tissues in addition to the mammary gland. Moreover, inactivation of Brca1 is shown to cooperate with deregulation of the Rb-E2F1 pathway to promote tumorigenesis.

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