Haploinsufficiency of factors governing genome stability underlies hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. One significant pathway that is disabled as a result is homologous recombination repair (HRR). With the aim of identifying new candidate genes, we examined early-onset breast cancer patients negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2 pathogenic variants. Here, we focused on CtIP (RBBP8 gene), which mediates HRR through the end resection of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Notably, these patients exhibited a number of rare germline RBBP8 variants. Functional analysis revealed that these variants did not affect DNA DSB end resection efficiency. However, expression of a subset of variants led to deleterious nucleolytic degradation of stalled DNA replication forks in a manner similar to that of cells lacking BRCA1 or BRCA2. In contrast to BRCA1 and BRCA2, CtIP deficiency promoted the helicase-driven destabilization of RAD51 nucleofilaments at damaged DNA replication forks. Taken together, our work identifies CtIP as a critical regulator of DNA replication fork integrity, which, when compromised, may predispose to the development of early-onset breast cancer.
Reihaneh Zarrizi, Martin R. Higgs, Karolin Voßgröne, Maria Rossing, Birgitte Bertelsen, Muthiah Bose, Arne Nedergaard Kousholt, Heike Rösner, the COMPLEXO Network, Bent Ejlertsen, Grant S. Stewart, Finn Cilius Nielsen, Claus S. Sørensen