The C-terminal BRCT region of BRCA1 is essential for its DNA repair, transcriptional regulation and tumor suppressor functions. Here we determine the crystal structure of the BRCT domain of human BRCA1 at 2.5 A resolution. The domain contains two BRCT repeats that adopt similar structures and are packed together in a head-to-tail arrangement. Cancer-causing missense mutations occur at the interface between the two repeats and destabilize the structure. The manner by which the two BRCT repeats interact in BRCA1 may represent a general mode of interaction between homologous domains within proteins that interact to regulate the cellular response to DNA damage. The structure provides a basis to predict the structural consequences of uncharacterized BRCA1 mutations.
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