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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2005 May 1;1728(3):126-34. Epub 2005 Feb 12.

Model of transcriptional regulation of the BRCA1-NBR2 bi-directional transcriptional unit.

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Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, 57 Old Forge Road, Tuxedo, NY 10987, USA.


In contrast to hundreds of mutations found in familial breast and/or ovarian cancers, somatic mutations of BRCA1 are very rare. However, a high percentage of sporadic breast and ovarian cancers show a reduction in BRCA1 expression, suggesting that defects in transcriptional regulation is a contributing factor. BRCA1 shares a promoter with its neighboring gene, NBR2, which is transcribed in the opposite direction. We have previously shown that the transcription of BRCA1 is negatively regulated by protein factors that interact with a 36-bp segment, located 575 bp into its first intron. We now report the localization of an 18-bp transcriptional repressor element for NBR2, which resides 948 bp into its first intron. The binding of nuclear proteins to this repressor element was detected by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), and it conferred an orientation-dependent functional suppression onto a heterologous thymidine kinase promoter. Combined with our previous studies, a model of transcriptional regulation of the closely aligned BRCA1-NBR2 bi-directional unit is proposed. A minimal 56-bp DNA region is functional in driving transcription in both directions, while uni-directional control is provided by distinct repressors that bind to sequences located in the first intron of the respective genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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