Disruption of Brca1 results in cellular demise or tumorigenesis depending on cellular context. Inactivation of p53 contributes to Brca1-associated tumor susceptibility. However the activation of p53-dependent checkpoint/apoptotic signaling in the absence of Brca1 is poorly understood. Here, we show that Chk2 inactivation is partially equivalent to p53 inactivation, in that Chk2 deficiency facilitates the development, survival, and proliferation of Brca1-deficient T cells at the expense of genomic integrity. Brca1 deficiency was found to result in Chk2 phosphorylation and the Chk2-dependent accumulation and activation of p53. Furthermore, inactivation of Chk2 and Brca1 was cooperative in breast cancer. Our findings identify a critical role for Chk2 as a component of the DNA damage-signaling pathway activated in response to Brca1 deficiency.
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