Functional analysis of BARD1 missense variants in homology-directed repair and damage sensitivity

Aleksandra I. Adamovich, Tapahsama Banerjee, Margaret Wingo, Kathryn Duncan, Jie Ning, Fernanda Martins Rodrigues, Kuan Lin Huang, Cindy Lee, Feng Chen, Li Ding, Jeffrey D. Parvin

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19 Scopus citations


The BARD1 protein, which heterodimerizes with BRCA1, is encoded by a known breast cancer susceptibility gene. While several BARD1 variants have been identified as pathogenic, many more missense variants exist that do not occur frequently enough to assign a clinical risk. In this paper, whole exome sequencing of over 10,000 cancer samples from 33 cancer types identified from somatic mutations and loss of heterozygosity in tumors 76 potentially cancer-associated BARD1 missense and truncation variants. These variants were tested in a functional assay for homology-directed repair (HDR), as HDR deficiencies have been shown to correlate with clinical pathogenicity for BRCA1 variants. From these 76 variants, 4 in the ankyrin repeat domain and 5 in the BRCT domain were found to be non-functional in HDR. Two known benign variants were found to be functional in HDR, and three known pathogenic variants were non-functional, supporting the notion that the HDR assay can be used to predict the clinical risk of BARD1 variants. The identification of HDR-deficient variants in the ankyrin repeat domain indicates there are DNA repair functions associated with this domain that have not been closely examined. In order to examine whether BARD1associated loss of HDR function results in DNA damage sensitivity, cells expressing non-functional BARD1 variants were treated with ionizing radiation or cisplatin. These cells were found to be more sensitive to DNA damage, and variations in the residual HDR function of non-functional variants did not correlate with variations in sensitivity. These findings improve the understanding of BARD1 functional domains in DNA repair and support that this functional assay is useful for predicting the cancer association of BARD1 variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1008049
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


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