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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jun 14;102(24):8537-42. Epub 2005 Jun 3.

BRCA2 BRC motifs bind RAD51-DNA filaments.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, University of Virginia Health Sciences Center, Charlottesville, VA 22908-0733, USA.


Germ-line mutations in BRCA2 account for approximately half the cases of autosomal dominant familial breast cancers. BRCA2 has been shown to interact directly with RAD51, an essential component of the cellular machinery for homologous recombination and the maintenance of genome stability. Interactions between BRCA2 and RAD51 take place by means of the conserved BRC repeat regions of BRCA2. Previously, it was shown that peptides corresponding to BRC3 or BRC4 bind RAD51 monomers and block RAD51-DNA filament formation. In this work, we further analyze these interactions and find that at lower molar ratios BRC3 or BRC4 actually bind and form stable complexes with RAD51-DNA nucleoprotein filaments. Only at high concentrations of the BRC repeats are filaments disrupted. The specific protein-protein contacts occur in the RAD51 filament by means of the N-terminal domain of RAD51 for BRC3 and the nucleotide-binding core of RAD51 for BRC4. These observations show that the BRC repeats bind distinct regions of RAD51 and are nonequivalent in their mode of interaction. The results provide insight into why mutation in just one of the eight BRC repeats would affect the way that BRCA2 protein interacts with the RAD51 filament. Disruption of a single RAD51 interaction site, one of several simultaneous interactions occurring throughout the BRC repeat-containing exon 11 of BRCA2, might modulate the ability of RAD51 to promote recombinational repair and lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.

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