The breast cancer susceptibility gene BRCA1 is well known for its function in double-strand break (DSB) DNA repair. While BRCA1 is also implicated in transcriptional regulation, the physiological significance remains unclear. COBRA1 (also known as NELF-B) is a BRCA1-binding protein that regulates RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) pausing and transcription elongation. Here we interrogate functional interaction between BRCA1 and COBRA1 during mouse mammary gland development. Tissue-specific deletion of Cobra1 reduces mammary epithelial compartments and blocks ductal morphogenesis, alveologenesis and lactogenesis, demonstrating a pivotal role of COBRA1 in adult tissue development. Remarkably, these developmental deficiencies due to Cobra1 knockout are largely rescued by additional loss of full-length Brca1. Furthermore, Brca1/Cobra1 double knockout restores developmental transcription at puberty, alters luminal epithelial homoeostasis, yet remains deficient in homologous recombination-based DSB repair. Thus our genetic suppression analysis uncovers a previously unappreciated, DNA repair-independent function of BRCA1 in antagonizing COBRA1-dependent transcription programme during mammary gland development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)