The transcription factor GATA3 is required for homologous recombination repair by regulating CtIP expression

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GATA3, a critical transcription factor involved in the development of the mammary gland, also plays important roles in mammary tumorigenesis by regulating transcription in coordination with two essential DNA repair factors, PARP1 and BRCA1. However, whether and how GATA3 participates in the process of DNA repair, which is often associated with tumorigenesis, has not been investigated. Here we demonstrate that GATA3 is required for the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by homologous recominbation (HR). Mechanistic studies indicate that at both the protein and the mRNA level, depleting GATA3 leads to reduced expression of CtIP, an essential HR factor involved in end resection, thereby suppressing the repair of DSBs by HR and sensitizing cells to etoposide induced DNA DSBs. Further studies indicate that upon the occurrence of DNA DSBs GATA3 directly binds to the CtIP promoter at the region of − 2119 to − 2130 and − 2274 to − 2285, and promotes the transcription of CtIP. Overexpression of CtIP in GATA3 depleted cells rescues the decline of HR, and cell survival in the presence of etoposide. In addition, through data mining analysis, we observed an extremely strong correlation between the expression levels of GATA3 and CtIP in paratumors, but the correlation turned insignificant in mammary tumors. Using vectors encoding GATA3 with mutations frequently occurring in mammary tumors, we found that several mutations on GATA3 led to a dysregulation of CtIP, and therefore HR repair. In summary, our data delineates the regulatory mechanisms of GATA3 in DNA DSB repair and strongly suggests that it might act as a tumor suppressor by promoting CtIP expression and HR to stabilize genomes.

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