A new function for BRCA1 in normal cells is described in the July issue of Nature Structural & Molecular Biology by Junjie Chen and coworkers.
The BRCA1 gene belongs to a family of genes known as tumor suppressors. Like other tumor suppressor, BRCA1 keeps cells from growing and dividing too fast or in an uncontrolled way. The BRCA1 protein plays an important role in keeping DNA in good working order by coordinating the repair of DNA that has been damaged.
However, its function in normal, undamaged cells is less clear. Chen and coworkers show that when cells are copying their DNA, BRCA1 interacts with an enzyme that is required for keeping DNAs from becoming tangled up. These studies point to a new role for BRCA1 in maintaining the integrity of DNA in the genome.
Junjie Chen (Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN, USA)
Also available online.
(C) Nature Structural & Molecular Biology press release.
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