The BRCA1/BARD1 heterodimer, a tumor suppressor complex with ubiquitin E3 ligase activity

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Feb;12(1):86-91. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(01)00269-6.


Although the protein product of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene has been implicated in a surprisingly diverse array of biological processes, the molecular mechanism by which BRCA1 loss promotes tumor formation remains unclear. Nonetheless, a pivotal advance has been achieved by recent studies that establish BRCA1 and its partner polypeptide BARD1 as enzymatic mediators of protein ubiquitination. The potent ubiquitin E3 ligase activity of the BRCA1/BARD1 heterodimer may be responsible for many of the biological properties attributed to BRCA1, including its ability to suppress tumor formation in normal cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / chemistry*
  • BRCA1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism*
  • Dimerization
  • Female
  • Genes, Tumor Suppressor
  • Humans
  • Ligases / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mutation
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins*
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Ubiquitin
  • BARD1 protein, human
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases
  • Ligases