Bovine BRCA1 shows classic responses to genotoxic stress but low in vitro transcriptional activation activity

Susan A. Krum, James E. Womack, Timothy F Lane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Human BRCA1 has a genetically demonstrated role in DNA repair, and has been proposed to act as a transcriptional activator in a limited number of specialized settings. To gain insight into biologically conserved functional motifs, we isolated an ortholog of BRCA1 from cattle (Bos taurus). The predicted protein product shows 72.5% sequence identity with the human protein and conservation of amino acids involved in BRCA1 structure and function. Although the bovine C-terminus is truncated by seven amino acids as compared to human, bovine BRCA1 protein exhibited a similar cell cycle-regulated nuclear expression pattern. Expression was characteristically low and diffuse in the nucleus of G1/G0 cells, followed by increasing BRCA1-positive nuclear speckles in late S phase and G2/M phase cells. Bovine BRCA1 was phosphorylated and nuclear speckling was enhanced in response to DNA-damaging agents. Consistent with evidence from studies of human BRCA1, bovine BRCA1 was shown to interact with RNA polymerase II in vivo, an activity that was mapped to the C-terminal domain (CTD) (bBRCA1364-1849). Interestingly, when tested in the GAL4 transcriptional activation assay, full-length bovine and human BRCA1 lacked any ability to act as transcriptional activators and the CTD of bovine BRCA1 had five-fold lower activity when compared to the more acidic human C-terminus. These results provide evidence that phosphorylation and nuclear relocalization are highly conserved features of the BRCA1 response to genotoxic stress. In addition, bovine BRCA1 binds the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme, but this interaction lacks significant ability to correctly orient or recruit RNA polymerase II for transcription in the classic GAL4 transcriptional activation system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6032-6044
Number of pages13
Issue number38
StatePublished - Sep 4 2003


  • BRCT
  • Breast and ovarian cancer
  • DNA repair
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA polymerase II

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research


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