BRCT-domain protein BRIT1 influences class switch recombination
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) serve as obligatory intermediates for Ig heavy chain (Igh) class switch recombination (CSR). The mechanisms by which DSBs are resolved to promote long-range DNA end-joining while suppressing genomic instability inherently associated with DSBs are yet to be fully elucidated. Here, we use a targeted short-hairpin RNA screen in a B-cell lymphoma line to identify the BRCT-domain protein BRIT1 as an effector of CSR. We show that conditional genetic deletion of BRIT1 in mice leads to a marked increase in unrepaired Igh breaks and a significant reduction in CSR in ex vivo activated splenic B cells. We find that the C-terminal tandem BRCT domains of BRIT1 facilitate its interaction with phosphorylated H2AX and that BRIT1 is recruited to the Igh locus in an activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) and H2AX-dependent fashion. Finally, we demonstrate that depletion of another BRCT-domain protein, MDC1, in BRIT1-deleted B cells increases the severity of CSR defect over what is observed upon loss of either protein alone. Our results identify BRIT1 as a factor in CSR and demonstrate that multiple BRCT-domain proteins contribute to optimal resolution of AID-induced DSBs.