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Mol Carcinog. 2003 Oct;38(2):85-96.

Novel consensus DNA-binding sequence for BRCA1 protein complexes.

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Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA.


Increasing evidence continues to emerge supporting the early hypothesis that BRCA1 might be involved in transcriptional processes. BRCA1 physically associates with more than 15 different proteins involved in transcription and is paradoxically involved in both transcriptional activation and repression. However, the underlying mechanism by which BRCA1 affects the gene expression of various genes remains speculative. In this study, we provide evidence that BRCA1 protein complexes interact with specific DNA sequences. We provide data showing that the upstream stimulatory factor 2 (USF2) physically associates with BRCA1 and is a component of this DNA-binding complex. Interestingly, these DNA-binding complexes are downregulated in breast cancer cell lines containing wild-type BRCA1, providing a critical link between modulations of BRCA1 function in sporadic breast cancers that do not involve germline BRCA1 mutations. The functional specificity of BRCA1 tumor suppression for breast and ovarian tissues is supported by our experiments, which demonstrate that BRCA1 DNA-binding complexes are modulated by serum and estrogen. Finally, functional analysis indicates that missense mutations in BRCA1 that lead to subsequent cancer susceptibility may result in improper gene activation. In summary, these findings establish a role for endogenous BRCA1 protein complexes in transcription via a defined DNA-binding sequence and indicate that one function of BRCA1 is to co-regulate the expression of genes involved in various cellular processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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