BRUCE regulates DNA double-strand break response by promoting USP8 deubiquitination of BRIT1

Chunmin Ge, Lixiao Che, Jinyu Ren, Raj K. Pandita, Jing Lu, Kaiyi Li, Tej K. Pandita, Chunying Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The DNA damage response (DDR) is crucial for genomic integrity. BRIT1 (breast cancer susceptibility gene C terminus-repeat inhibitor of human telomerase repeat transcriptase expression), a tumor suppressor and early DDR factor, is recruited to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by phosphorylated H2A histone family, member X (γ-H2AX), where it promotes chromatin relaxation by recruiting the switch/sucrose nonfermentable (SWI-SNF) chromatin remodeler to facilitate DDR. However, regulation of BRIT1 recruitment is not fully understood. The baculovirus IAP repeat (BIR)-containing ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme (BRUCE) is an inhibitor of apoptosis protein (IAP). Here, we report a non-IAP function of BRUCE in the regulation of the BRIT1-SWI-SNF DSB-response pathway and genomic stability. We demonstrate that BRIT1 is K63 ubiquitinated in unstimulated cells and that deubiquitination of BRIT1 is a prerequisite for its recruitment to DSB sites by γ-H2AX. We show mechanistically that BRUCE acts as a scaffold, bridging the ubiquitin-specific peptidase 8 (USP8) and BRIT1 in a complex to coordinate USP8-catalyzed deubiquitination of BRIT1. Loss of BRUCE or USP8 impairs BRIT1 deubiquitination, BRIT1 binding with γ-H2AX, the formation of BRIT1 DNA damage foci, and chromatin relaxation. Moreover, BRUCE-depleted cells display reduced homologous recombination repair, and BRUCE-mutant mice exhibit repair defects and genomic instability. These findings identify BRUCE and USP8 as two hitherto uncharacterized critical DDR regulators and uncover a deubiquitination regulation of BRIT1 assembly at damaged chromatin for efficient DDR and genomic stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E1210-E1219
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number11
StatePublished - Mar 17 2015


  • BRIT1
  • DNA DSB repair
  • Inhibitor of apoptosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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