ZNF121 interacts with ZBRK1 and BRCA1 to regulate their target genes in mammary epithelial cells

Ang Luo, Kailun Zhang, Yanxia Zhao, Zhengmao Zhu, Liya Fu, Jin Tang Dong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The novel zinc finger protein 121 (ZNF121) has been demonstrated to physically and functionally associate with the MYC oncoprotein to regulate cell proliferation and likely breast cancer development. To further understand how ZNF121 functions in cell proliferation and carcinogenesis, we identified and characterized the interaction of ZNF121 with zinc finger and BRCA1-interacting protein with a KRAB domain 1 (ZBRK1), a breast and ovarian cancer susceptibility protein 1 (BRCA1)-interacting protein, using the yeast two-hybrid assay and other approaches. We also found that ZNF121 bound to BRCA1. Functionally, ZFN121 suppressed the expression of ANG1 and HMGA2, two common downstream targets of ZBRK1 and BRCA1. Interestingly, ZNF121 also regulated the expression of BRCA1 and ZBRK1. These findings suggest that ZNF121 is likely a member of the BRCA1/CtIP/ZBRK1 repressor complex that plays a role in breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1952
Number of pages10
JournalFEBS Open Bio
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Dr. Anthea Hammond of Emory University and Mr. Luke Erber of the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for helping with editing and proofreading the manuscript. The present work is supported by the grant from National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 30625032).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors. Published by FEBS Press and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • BRCA1
  • ZBRK1
  • ZNF121


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