BRCA1 proteins regulate growth of ovarian cancer cells by tethering Ubc9.

Academic Article


  • Mutation in the BRCA1 gene is associated with increased risk for hereditary breast and ovarian cancers. In sporadic ovarian tumors, BRCA1 dysfunction is thought to be common. BRCA1 is a nuclear-cytoplasm shuttling protein. Our group has previously reported that BRCA1 proteins, unlike K109R and cancer-predisposing mutant C61G BRCA1 proteins, bind the sole SUMO E2-conjugating enzyme Ubc9. In this study, we examined the result of altered Ubc9 binding and knockdown on the sub-cellular localization and growth inhibitory function of BRCA1 proteins in ovarian cancer cells. Using live imaging of YFP, RFP-tagged BRCA1 and BRCA1a proteins, our results show enhanced cytoplasmic localization of K109R and C61G mutant BRCA1 proteins in ES-2, NIHOVCAR3 and UWB 1.289 ovarian cancer cells. Down-regulation of Ubc9 in ovarian cancer cells using Ubc9 siRNA resulted in cytoplasmic localization of BRCA1 and BRCA1a proteins. These mutant BRCA1a proteins were impaired in their capacity to inhibit growth of ES-2 ovarian cancer cells. Several ovarian cancer cells, including a BRCA1-null ovarian cancer cell line, showed higher levels of expression of Ubc9. This is the first study demonstrating the physiological link between loss of Ubc9 binding and loss of growth suppression of disease-associated mutant BRCA1a proteins in ovarian cancer cells. BRCA1, by turning off or on Ubc9 binding, regulates growth of ovarian cancers.
  • Published In


  • BRCA1, BRCA1a, Growth suppression, Ovarian cancer, RING domain mutants, Ubc9, nuclear import
  • Pubmed Id

  • 14641865
  • Author List

  • Qin Y; Xu J; Aysola K; Oprea G; Reddy A; Matthews R; Okoli J; Cantor A; Grizzle WE; Partridge EE
  • Start Page

  • 540
  • End Page

  • 548
  • Volume

  • 2
  • Issue

  • 5