The BRCA1 pseudogene negatively regulates antitumor responses through inhibition of innate immune defense mechanisms

Yoo Jane Han, Jing Zhang, Jung Hyun Lee, Jennifer M. Mason, Olga Karginova, Toshio F. Yoshimatsu, Qinyu Hao, Ian Hurley, Laia Pare Brunet, Aleix Prat, Kannanganattu V. Prasanth, Michaela U. Gack, Olufunmilayo I. Olopade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Innate immune defense mechanisms play a pivotal role in antitumor responses. Recent evidence suggests that antiviral innate immunity is regulated not only by exogenous non-self-RNA but also by host-derived pseudogene RNAs. A growing body of evidence also indicates a biological role for pseudogenes as gene expression regulators or immune modulators. Here, we report an important role for BRCA1P1, the pseudogene of the BRCA1 tumor-suppressor gene, in regulating innate immune defense mechanisms in breast cancer cells. BRCA1P1 expresses a longnoncoding RNA (lncRNA) in breast cancer cells through divergent transcription. Expression of lncRNA-BRCA1P1 is increased in breast tumors compared with normal breast tissues. Depletion of BRCA1P1 induces an antiviral defense-like program, including the expression of antiviral genes in breast cancer cells. Furthermore, BRCA1P1-deficient cancer cells mimic virus-infected cells by stimulating cytokines and inducing cell apoptosis. Accordingly, depletion of BRCA1P1 increases host innate immune responses and restricts virus replication. In converse, overexpression of BRCA1P1 reduces cytokine expression in breast cancer cells. Mechanistically, lncRNA-BRCA1P1 is localized in the nucleus, binds to the NF-kB subunit RelA, and negatively regulates antiviral gene expression. Finally, in a xenograft mouse model of breast cancer, depletion of BRCA1P1 stimulates cytokine expression and local immunity, and suppresses tumor growth. Our results suggest an important role for BRCA1P1 in innate immune defensemechanisms and antitumor responses. This mechanismof antiviral immunity regulated by a host-derived pseudogene RNA may guide the development of novel therapies targeting immune responses in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1540-1551
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2021


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