BRCA1 in breast and ovarian cancer predisposition

Cancer Lett. 2005 Sep 8;227(1):1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2004.11.006. Epub 2004 Dec 13.


Women carrying one mutated BRCA1 allele are at increased risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer but tumor initiation requires the loss of the wild-type allele indicating that it is a tumor suppressor gene. In the 10 years since the cloning of BRCA1, a function for the gene product in the DNA damage response has been established. However, identifying the exact biochemical activities of BRCA1 has been a more difficult task. Our current understanding suggests that the molecular functions mediated by the terminal ends of BRCA1, which include an E3 ubiquitin ligase activity at the N-terminus and a protein-protein interaction surface at the C-terminus, are critical to the function of this protein in the response to DNA damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • BRCA1 Protein / chemistry
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • DNA Damage
  • Female
  • Genes, BRCA1 / physiology*
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Humans
  • Organ Specificity
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Ubiquitin / metabolism


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • Ubiquitin