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Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2004 Jun;11(6):512-8. Epub 2004 May 9.

Structure and mechanism of BRCA1 BRCT domain recognition of phosphorylated BACH1 with implications for cancer.

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  • 1National Institute for Medical Research, Division of Protein Structure, The Ridgeway, Mill Hill, London NW7 1AA, UK.


Germline mutations in the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene often result in a significant increase in susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancers. Although the molecular basis of their effects remains largely obscure, many mutations are known to target the highly conserved C-terminal BRCT repeats that function as a phosphoserine/phosphothreonine-binding module. We report the X-ray crystal structure at a resolution of 1.85 A of the BRCA1 tandem BRCT domains in complex with a phosphorylated peptide representing the minimal interacting region of the DEAH-box helicase BACH1. The structure reveals the determinants of this novel class of BRCA1 binding events. We show that a subset of disease-linked mutations act through specific disruption of phospho-dependent BRCA1 interactions rather than through gross structural perturbation of the tandem BRCT domains.

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