Newly Identified Function of BRAC1 Suggests Target For Breast Cancer Prevention

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rong Li, Ph.D., Professor Holder of the Tom C. & H. Frost Endowment Department of Molecular Medicine Institute of Biotechnology Co-Leader, Cancer Development and Progression Program Cancer Therapy & Research Center University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio

Dr. Rong Li

Rong Li, Ph.D., Professor
Holder of the Tom C. & H. Frost Endowment
Department of Molecular Medicine
Institute of Biotechnology
Co-Leader, Cancer Development and Progression Program
Cancer Therapy & Research Center
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Li: The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 is well known for its function in double strand break DNA repair. However, the ubiquitous role of BRCA1 in DNA repair may not be sufficient to explain its tissue-specific tumor suppressor function in vivo. Using the “awesome power” of mouse genetics, we identified a previously unappreciated crosstalk between BRCA1 and a transcription regulator in mammary gland development. Importantly, we provide compelling evidence that this BRCA1 function is independent of its well-established DNA repair activity.

MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Li: The newly identified DNA repair-independent function of BRCA1 may provide new tools and targets for early prevention of BRCA1-associated breast cancer.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Li: Our studies underscore the importance of elucidating BRCA1 biological activity in a physiologically relevant tissue and cell context. Furthermore, our finding points to the need to look outside the “box” of DNA repair and to validate the DNA repair-independent function using clinical samples.

Citation:

Sreejith J. Nair, Xiaowen Zhang, Huai-Chin Chiang, Md Jamiul Jahid, Yao Wang, Paula Garza, Craig April, Neeraj Salathia, Tapahsama Banerjee, Fahad S. Alenazi, Jianhua Ruan, Jian-Bing Fan, Jeffrey D. Parvin, Victor X. Jin, Yanfen Hu, Rong Li. Genetic suppression reveals DNA repair-independent antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in mammary gland development. Nature Communications, 2016; 7: 10913 DOI:10.1038/ncomms10913

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Rong Li, Ph.D. (2016). Newly Identified Function of BRAC1 Suggests Target For Breast Cancer Prevention

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