Genetic suppression reveals DNA repair-independent antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in mammary gland development

Sreejith J. Nair, Xiaowen Zhang, Huai Chin Chiang, Md Jamiul Jahid, Yao Wang, Paula Garza, Craig April, Neeraj Salathia, Tapahsama Banerjee, Fahad S. Alenazi, Jianhua Ruan, Jian Bing Fan, Jeffrey D. Parvin, Victor X. Jin, Yanfen Hu, Rong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number10913
JournalNature communications
StatePublished - Mar 4 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic suppression reveals DNA repair-independent antagonism between BRCA1 and COBRA1 in mammary gland development'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this