There are several lines of evidence indicating that the carboxy-terminal region of the tumor suppressor protein BRCA1 is a functionally significant domain. Using the yeast two-hybrid and in vitro biochemical assays, we show that a protein, CtIP, interacts specifically with the carboxy-terminal segment of human BRCA1 from residues 1602-1863. A germ line truncation mutation, Y1853ter, that removes the last 11 amino acids from the carboxy-terminus of BRCA1, abolishes not only its transcriptional activation function, but also binding to CtIP. The function of CtIP is unknown, but its reported association with a transcriptional repressor CtBP lends further support that it may have a role in transcription. A sequence based screen of a panel of 89 tumor cell line cDNAs for mutations in the CtIP coding region identified five missense variants. In the pancreatic carcinoma cell line, BxPC3, the non-conservative lysine to glutamic acid change at codon 337 is accompanied with apparent loss of heterozygosity or non-expression of the wild type allele. Thus it is plausible that CtIP may itself be a tumor suppressor acting in the same pathway as BRCA1.