BRCA1, a 'complex' protein involved in the maintenance of genomic stability

FEBS J. 2015 Feb;282(4):630-46. doi: 10.1111/febs.13150. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


BRCA1 is a major breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility gene, with mutations in this gene predisposing women to a very high risk of developing breast and ovarian tumours. BRCA1 primarily functions to maintain genomic stability via critical roles in DNA repair, cell cycle checkpoint control, transcriptional regulation, apoptosis and mRNA splicing. As a result, BRCA1 mutations often result in defective DNA repair, genomic instability and sensitivity to DNA damaging agents. BRCA1 carries out these different functions through its ability to interact, and form complexes with, a vast array of proteins involved in multiple cellular processes, all of which are considered to contribute to its function as a tumour suppressor. This review discusses and highlights recent research into the functions of BRCA1-related protein complexes and their roles in maintaining genomic stability and tumour suppression.

Keywords: BRCA1; DNA damage response; DNA repair; breast cancer; genomic instability; hereditary breast cancer.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism
  • DNA Damage / genetics
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • DNA Repair / physiology
  • Female
  • Genomic Instability / genetics
  • Genomic Instability / physiology*
  • Humans


  • BRCA1 Protein