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A transcriptional response to replication stress selectively expands a subset of Brca2-mutant mammary epithelial cells.

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Najafabadi, Maryam Ghaderi 
Gupta, Komal 
Perera, David 
Naylor, Huw 


Germline BRCA2 mutation carriers frequently develop luminal-like breast cancers, but it remains unclear how BRCA2 mutations affect mammary epithelial subpopulations. Here, we report that monoallelic Brca2mut/WT mammary organoids subjected to replication stress activate a transcriptional response that selectively expands Brca2mut/WT luminal cells lacking hormone receptor expression (HR-). While CyTOF analyses reveal comparable epithelial compositions among wildtype and Brca2mut/WT mammary glands, Brca2mut/WT HR- luminal cells exhibit greater organoid formation and preferentially survive and expand under replication stress. ScRNA-seq analysis corroborates the expansion of HR- luminal cells which express elevated transcript levels of Tetraspanin-8 (Tspan8) and Thrsp, plus pathways implicated in replication stress survival including Type I interferon responses. Notably, CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion of Tspan8 or Thrsp prevents Brca2mut/WT HR- luminal cell expansion. Our findings indicate that Brca2mut/WT cells activate a transcriptional response after replication stress that preferentially favours outgrowth of HR- luminal cells through the expression of interferon-responsive and mammary alveolar genes.


Funder: Krishnan-Ang Fellowship


Epithelial Cells, Interferon Type I, Cell Cycle, Cell Proliferation, Gene Expression

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Nature communications

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