Title

Genetic suppression reveals DNA repair-independent antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in mammary gland development

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-4-2016

Journal

Nature Communications

Volume

7

DOI

10.1038/ncomms10913

Abstract

The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 is well known for its function in double-strand break (DSB) DNA repair. While BRCA1 is also implicated in transcriptional regulation, the physiological significance remains unclear. COBRA1 (also known as NELF-B) is a BRCA1-binding protein that regulates RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) pausing and transcription elongation. Here we interrogate functional interaction between BRCA1 and COBRA1 during mouse mammary gland development. Tissue-specific deletion of Cobra1 reduces mammary epithelial compartments and blocks ductal morphogenesis, alveologenesis and lactogenesis, demonstrating a pivotal role of COBRA1 in adult tissue development. Remarkably, these developmental deficiencies due to Cobra1 knockout are largely rescued by additional loss of full-length Brca1. Furthermore, Brca1/Cobra1 double knockout restores developmental transcription at puberty, alters luminal epithelial homoeostasis, yet remains deficient in homologous recombination-based DSB repair. Thus our genetic suppression analysis uncovers a previously unappreciated, DNA repair-independent function of BRCA1 in antagonizing COBRA1-dependent transcription programme during mammary gland development.

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