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Genes Cancer. 2010 Nov;1(11):1140-6. doi: 10.1177/1947601910392988.

Tandem BRCT Domains: DNA's Praetorian Guard.

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  • 1Instituto Federal de Educação Ciência e Tecnologia, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


The cell's ability to sense and respond to specific stimuli is a complex system derived from precisely regulated protein-protein interactions. Some of these protein-protein interactions are mediated by the recognition of linear peptide motifs by protein modular domains. BRCT (BRCA1 C-terminal) domains and their linear motif counterparts, which contain phosphoserines, are one such pair-wise interaction system that seems to have evolved to serve as a surveillance system to monitor threats to the cell's genetic integrity. Evidence indicates that BRCT domains found in tandem can cooperate to provide sequence-specific binding of phosphorylated peptides as is the case for the breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 and the PAX transcription factor-interacting protein PAXIP1. Particular interest has been paid to tandem BRCT domains as "readers" of signaling events in the form of phosphorylated serine moieties induced by the activation of DNA damage response kinases ATM, ATR, and DNA-PK. However, given the diversity of tandem BRCT-containing proteins, questions remain as to the origin and evolution of this domain. Here, we discuss emerging views of the origin and evolving roles of tandem BRCT domain repeats in the DNA damage response.


BRCT; DNA damage; cancer; modular domains; networks; systems biology

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