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      BRCA1 and BRCA2: different roles in a common pathway of genome protection

      , ,
      Nature Reviews Cancer
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          The proteins encoded by the two major breast cancer susceptibility genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, work in a common pathway of genome protection. However, the two proteins work at different stages in the DNA damage response (DDR) and in DNA repair. BRCA1 is a pleiotropic DDR protein that functions in both checkpoint activation and DNA repair, whereas BRCA2 is a mediator of the core mechanism of homologous recombination. The links between the two proteins are not well understood, but they must exist to explain the marked similarity of human cancer susceptibility that arises with germline mutations in these genes. As discussed here, the proteins work in concert to protect the genome from double-strand DNA damage during DNA replication.

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          Control of BRCA2 cellular and clinical functions by a nuclear partner, PALB2.

          BRCA2 mutations predispose carriers to breast and ovarian cancer and can also cause other cancers and Fanconi anemia. BRCA2 acts as a "caretaker" of genome integrity by enabling homologous recombination (HR)-based, error-free DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR) and intra-S phase DNA damage checkpoint control. Described here is the identification of PALB2, a BRCA2 binding protein. PALB2 colocalizes with BRCA2 in nuclear foci, promotes its localization and stability in key nuclear structures (e.g., chromatin and nuclear matrix), and enables its recombinational repair and checkpoint functions. In addition, multiple, germline BRCA2 missense mutations identified in breast cancer patients but of heretofore unknown biological/clinical consequence appear to disrupt PALB2 binding and disable BRCA2 HR/DSBR function. Thus, PALB2 licenses key cellular biochemical properties of BRCA2 and ensures its tumor suppression function.
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            BRCA2 is required for homology-directed repair of chromosomal breaks.

            The BRCA2 tumor suppressor has been implicated in the maintenance of chromosomal stability through a function in DNA repair. In this report, we examine human and mouse cell lines containing different BRCA2 mutations for their ability to repair chromosomal breaks by homologous recombination. Using the I-SceI endonuclease to introduce a double-strand break at a specific chromosomal locus, we find that BRCA2 mutant cell lines are recombination deficient, such that homology-directed repair is reduced 6- to >100-fold, depending on the cell line. Thus, BRCA2 is essential for efficient homology-directed repair, presumably in conjunction with the Rad51 recombinase. We propose that impaired homology-directed repair caused by BRCA2 deficiency leads to chromosomal instability and, possibly, tumorigenesis, through lack of repair or misrepair of DNA damage.
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              PALB2 is an integral component of the BRCA complex required for homologous recombination repair.

              Mutations in breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 and 2 (BRCA1 and BRCA2) predispose individuals to breast and ovarian cancer development. We previously reported an in vivo interaction between BRCA1 and BRCA2. However, the biological significance of their association is thus far undefined. Here, we report that PALB2, the partner and localizer of BRCA2, binds directly to BRCA1, and serves as the molecular scaffold in the formation of the BRCA1-PALB2-BRCA2 complex. The association between BRCA1 and PALB2 is primarily mediated via apolar bonding between their respective coiled-coil domains. More importantly, BRCA1 mutations identified in cancer patients disrupted the specific interaction between BRCA1 and PALB2. Consistent with the converging functions of the BRCA proteins in DNA repair, cells harboring mutations with abrogated BRCA1-PALB2 interaction resulted in defective homologous recombination (HR) repair. We propose that, via its direct interaction with PALB2, BRCA1 fine-tunes recombinational repair partly through its modulatory role in the PALB2-dependent loading of BRCA2-RAD51 repair machinery at DNA breaks. Our findings uncover PALB2 as the molecular adaptor between the BRCA proteins, and suggest that impaired HR repair is one of the fundamental causes for genomic instability and tumorigenesis observed in patients carrying BRCA1, BRCA2, or PALB2 mutations.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Cancer
                Nat Rev Cancer
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1474-175X
                1474-1768
                January 2012
                December 23 2011
                January 2012
                : 12
                : 1
                : 68-78
                Article
                10.1038/nrc3181
                22193408
                c2f0d8bc-9c2f-4566-87fe-0375d0b9c4b5
                © 2012

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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