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Germ-line mutations inactivating BRCA2 predispose to cancer. BRCA2-deficient cells exhibit alterations in chromosome number (aneuploidy), as well as structurally aberrant chromosomes. Here, we show that BRCA2 deficiency impairs the completion of cell division by cytokinesis. BRCA2 inactivation in murine embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) and HeLa cells by targeted gene disruption or RNA interference delays and prevents cell cleavage. Impeded cell separation is accompanied by abnormalities in myosin II organization during the late stages in cytokinesis. BRCA2 may have a role in regulating these events, as it localizes to the cytokinetic midbody. Our findings thus link cytokinetic abnormalities to a hereditary cancer syndrome characterized by chromosomal instability and may help to explain why BRCA2-deficient tumors are frequently aneuploid.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





876 - 879


Anaphase, Aneuploidy, Animals, BRCA2 Protein, Cell Division, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Nucleus, Cells, Cultured, Embryo, Mammalian, Gene Targeting, Genes, BRCA2, HeLa Cells, Humans, Mice, Mitosis, Myosin Type II, RNA, Small Interfering