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The breast cancer susceptibility protein, BRCA2, preserves chromosomal stability through roles in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks, and possibly, cell division. Post-translational modifications that may coordinate these functions remain poorly characterized. Here, we report that BRCA2 is a substrate for the mitotic Polo-like kinase, Plk1. BRCA2 undergoes phosphorylation in cells synchronously passing through the G2/M phases of cell cycle, when Plk1 expression and activity are maximal. Depletion of Plk1 by RNA interference suppresses BRCA2 modification. BRCA2 and Plk1 interact with one another in cell lysates, through a conserved region in BRCA2, which spans the eight BRC repeat motifs essential for its function in DNA repair. Within this region, residues positioned between BRC repeats--but not the repeat motifs themselves--are phosphorylated by Plk1. Interestingly, Plk1-mediated modification of BRCA2 during the G2/M phases is inhibited by treatment with the radiomimetic agent, adriamycin. Thus, our findings define a regulatory circuit for BRCA2 phosphorylation by Plk1 that is responsive to DNA damage as well as mitotic progression.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





865 - 872


BRCA2 Protein, Base Sequence, Blotting, Western, Cell Cycle Proteins, Cell Line, DNA Damage, DNA Primers, Humans, Mitosis, Phosphorylation, Protein Kinases, Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins