BRCA1, a well-known tumor suppressor with multiple interacting partners, is predicted to have diverse biological functions. However, so far its only well-established role is in the repair of damaged DNA and cell cycle regulation. In this regard, the etiopathological study of low-penetrant variants of BRCA1 provides an opportunity to uncover its other physiologically important functions. Using this rationale, we studied the R1699Q variant of BRCA1, a potentially moderate-risk variant, and found that it does not impair DNA damage repair but abrogates the repression of microRNA-155 (miR-155), a bona fide oncomir. Mechanistically, we found that BRCA1 epigenetically represses miR-155 expression via its association with HDAC2, which deacetylates histones H2A and H3 on the miR-155 promoter. We show that overexpression of miR-155 accelerates but the knockdown of miR-155 attenuates the growth of tumor cell lines in vivo. Our findings demonstrate a new mode of tumor suppression by BRCA1 and suggest that miR-155 is a potential therapeutic target for BRCA1-deficient tumors.
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