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Science. 2003 Oct 24;302(5645):636-9.

BRCT repeats as phosphopeptide-binding modules involved in protein targeting.

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Center for Cancer Research, Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


We used a proteomic approach to identify phosphopeptide-binding modules mediating signal transduction events in the DNA damage response pathway. Using a library of partially degenerate phosphopeptides, we identified tandem BRCT (BRCA1 carboxyl-terminal) domains in PTIP (Pax transactivation domain-interacting protein) and in BRCA1 as phosphoserine- or phosphothreonine-specific binding modules that recognize substrates phosphorylated by the kinases ATM (ataxia telangiectasia-mutated) and ATR (ataxia telangiectasia- and RAD3-related) in response to gamma-irradiation. PTIP tandem BRCT domains are responsible for phosphorylation-dependent protein localization into 53BP1- and phospho-H2AX (gamma-H2AX)-containing nuclear foci, a marker of DNA damage. These findings provide a molecular basis for BRCT domain function in the DNA damage response and may help to explain why the BRCA1 BRCT domain mutation Met1775 --> Arg, which fails to bind phosphopeptides, predisposes women to breast and ovarian cancer.

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