New Member of the Breast Cancer Gene Network Found by Penn-led Team


February 23, 2012

Penn Medicine News Release

The infamous BRCA genes do not act alone in causing cancer; there is a molecular syndicate at work preventing the way cells normally repair breaks in DNA that is at the root of breast cancer. But finding all of the BRCA molecular collaborators has been elusive. Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Oulu, Finland, published their discovery of a mutation in the Abraxas gene, which interacts with the well-known breast-cancer gene BRCA1, in Science Translational Medicine this week. The mutation affects the ability of the Abraxas protein to enter the nucleus and bind to sites adjacent to damaged DNA. Abraxas organizes a large BRCA1 protein-containing complex that is required to fix DNA-damage. A mutated Abraxas protein impairs the BRCA1 complex's ability to migrate to sites of DNA damage and repair breaks. This results in alterations to the genome that increase breast-cancer risk, notes senior author Roger Greenberg, PhD, associate professor of Cancer Biology... Read More

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