The BRCT domain is a phospho-protein binding domain.
The carboxyl-terminal domain (BRCT) of the Breast Cancer Gene 1 (BRCA1) protein is an evolutionarily conserved module that exists in a large number of proteins from prokaryotes to eukaryotes. Although most BRCT domain-containing proteins participate in DNA-damage checkpoint or DNA-repair pathways, or both, the function of the BRCT domain is not fully understood. We show that the BRCA1 BRCT domain directly interacts with phosphorylated BRCA1-Associated Carboxyl-terminal Helicase (BACH1). This specific interaction between BRCA1 and phosphorylated BACH1 is cell cycle regulated and is required for DNA damage-induced checkpoint control during the transition from G2 to M phase of the cell cycle. Further, we show that two other BRCT domains interact with their respective physiological partners in a phosphorylation-dependent manner. Thirteen additional BRCT domains also preferentially bind phospho-peptides rather than nonphosphorylated control peptides. These data imply that the BRCT domain is a phospho-protein binding domain involved in cell cycle control.