Germline mutations of BRCA1 predispose women to breast and ovarian cancers. BRCA1 contains several functional domains that interact directly or indirectly with a variety of molecules, including tumor suppressors (p53, RB, BRCA2 and ATM), oncogenes (c-Myc, casein kinase II and E2F), DNA damage repair proteins (RAD50 and RAD51), cell-cycle regulators (cyclins and cyclin-dependent kinases), transcriptional activators and repressors (RNA polymerase II, RHA, histone deacetylase complex and CtIP) and others. Mounting evidence indicates that these physical associations are not artifacts; rather, BRCA1 is likely to serve as an important central component in multiple biological pathways that regulate cell-cycle progression, centrosome duplication, DNA damage repair, cell growth and apoptosis, and transcriptional activation and repression. This review examines our understanding of the significance of the interactions between BRCA1 and other proteins, through which BRCA1 maintains genome integrity and represses tumor formation. Published 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.