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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2008 Dec;1783(12):2223-33. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2008.08.006. Epub 2008 Aug 26.

BRCA1 is regulated by Chk2 in response to spindle damage.

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LBCMCP, CNRS-UMR 5088, University of Toulouse, 118 route de Narbonne, 31062 Toulouse, France.


Inherited mutations of the breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) confer an increased risk for breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. BRCA1 has been involved in regulation of cell cycle progression, DNA damage signaling and repair, maintenance of genome integrity, ubiquitination and regulation of transcription. Aside from its essential functions in the DNA damage response BRCA1 has been also involved in the cellular response to microtubule damage. Emerging evidence indicates that BRCA1 regulates the duplication and the function of centrosomes, participates in mitotic spindle assembly and is required in the spindle checkpoint. Given BRCA1 distinct functions in microtubule-dependent pathways, we hypothesized that BRCA1 might be regulated following microtubule damage. In the present study, we report the novel finding that BRCA1 is phosphorylated by the checkpoint kinase Chk2 on the previously identified site Ser988 following anti-mitotic treatment in human cancer cells. Ser988-phosphorylated BRCA1 accumulates at centrosomes in response to microtubule damage but Ser988 is not essential for BRCA1 localization at the microtubule-organizing centers. We further demonstrate that the Ser988 phosphorylation is important for the inhibiting microtubule nucleation activity of BRCA1 and for BRCA1 function in cell survival following microtubule damage. These findings reveal a striking outcome of BRCA1 phosphorylation by Chk2 on its role in microtubule-dependent pathways and suggest a fine cross-talk between DNA damage and spindle damage responses.

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