Regulation of clustered gene expression by cofactor of BRCA1 (COBRA1) in breast cancer cells

S. E. Aiyar, A. L. Blair, D. A. Hopkinson, S. Bekiranov, R. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Eucaryotic genes that are coordinately expressed tend to be clustered. Furthermore, gene clusters across chromosomal regions are often upregulated in various tumors. However, relatively little is known about how gene clusters are coordinately expressed in physiological or pathological conditions. Cofactor of BRCA1 (COBRA1), a subunit of the human negative elongation factor, has been shown to repress estrogen-stimulated transcription of trefoil factor 1 (TFF1 or pS2) by stalling RNA polymerase II. Here, we carried out a genome-wide study to identify additional physiological target genes of COBRA1 in breast cancer cells. The study identified a total of 134 genes that were either activated or repressed upon small hairpin RNA-mediated reduction of COBRA1. Interestingly, many COBRA1-regulated genes reside as clusters on the chromosomes and have been previously implicated in cancer development. Detailed examination of two such clusters on chromosome 21 (21q22) and chromosome X (Xp11) reveals that COBRA1 is physically associated with a subset of its regulated genes in each cluster. In addition, COBRA1 was shown to regulate both estrogen-dependent and -independent transcription of the gene cluster at 21q22, which encompasses the previously identified COBRA1-regulated TFF1 (pS2) locus. Thus, COBRA1 plays a critical role in the regulation of clustered gene expression at preferred chromosomal domains in breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2543-2553
Number of pages11
Issue number18
StatePublished - Apr 19 2007


  • COBRA1
  • Clustered gene expression
  • Estrogen
  • NELF
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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