Analysis of the DNA binding activity of BRCA1 and its modulation by the tumour suppressor p53

Riffat Naseem, Michelle Webb

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Background: The breast cancer susceptibility protein, BRCA1 fucntions to maintain the integrity of the genome. The exact mechanisms by which it does so, hovewer, remain unclear. The ability of BRCA1 to bind directly to DNA suggests a more direct role. However, little research has been conducted to understand the functonal relevance of this characteristic of BRCA1. In this study we examine the DNA substrate specificity of BRCA1 and how this may be controlled by one of its interacting partners. p53. Methodology/Principal Findings: Using competition gel retardation assays we have examnined the ability of residues 230 534 of BRCA1 to discriminate between different synthetic DNA subtrates that mimic those recognised by the DNA damage response i.e. four-way junction DNA, mismatch containing DNA bulge containing DNA and linear DNA. Of those tested the highest affinity observed was for four-way junction DNA, with a 20 fold excess of each of the other synthetic DNA's unable to compete for any of the bound BRCA1 230-534. We also observed a higher affinity for CC and bulge containing DNA compared to linear duplex and GT containing DNA. BRCA1 230-534 also has interaction sites for the tumour suppressor p53 and we show that titration of this complex into the DNA binding assays significantly reduces the affinity of BRCA1 for DNA. Conclusions/Significance: In this paper we show that BRCA1 can discriminate between different type of DNA damage and we discuss the implications of this with respect to its function in DNA repair. We also show that the DNA binding activity can be induced by the tumour suppressor p53 and suggest that this may prevent genome destabilizing events such as HR between non-homologus sequences. Copyright: © 2008 Naseem, Webb.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere2336
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2008


    • metabolism: BRCA1 Protein
    • metabolism: DNA-Binding Proteins
    • Protein Binding
    • metabolism: Tumor Suppressor Protein p53


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