BRCA1 - a breast and ovarian cancer suppressor gene - promotes genome integrity. To study the functionality of BRCA1 in the heterozygous state, we established a collection of primary human BRCA1+/+ and BRCA1mut/+ mammary epithelial cells and fibroblasts. Here we report that all BRCA1mut/+ cells exhibited multiple normal BRCA1 functions, including the support of homologous recombination- type double-strand break repair (HR-DSBR), checkpoint functions, centrosome number control, spindle pole formation, Slug expression and satellite RNA suppression. In contrast, the same cells were defective in stalled replication fork repair and/or suppression of fork collapse, that is, replication stress. These defects were rescued by reconstituting BRCA1mut/+ cells with wt BRCA1. In addition, we observed 'conditional' haploinsufficiency for HR-DSBR in BRCA1mut/+ cells in the face of replication stress. Given the importance of replication stress in epithelial cancer development and of an HR defect in breast cancer pathogenesis, both defects are candidate contributors to tumorigenesis in BRCA1-deficient mammary tissue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Chemistry
- General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
- General Physics and Astronomy