Editors' ChoiceCell Division

BRCA2, a Tale of Long Division

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Science's STKE  02 Nov 2004:
Vol. 2004, Issue 257, pp. tw398
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2572004tw398

Women with mutations in the BRCA2 tumor suppressor gene have a greatly elevated risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. The BRCA2 protein has been implicated in DNA repair and recombination, but the full spectrum of its cellular activities is still unclear. Daniels et al. (see the news story by Marx) provide tantalizing evidence that BRCA2 may regulate the fidelity of cytokinesis, the process by which two daughter cells separate at the completion of cell division. BRCA2 deficiency causes delays in cytokinesis and an increase in the frequency of binucleate cells, a measure of defective cytokinesis. This potential role of BRCA2 in daughter cell separation may help to explain why BRCA2-deficient tumor cells often contain an abnormal complement of chromosomes.

M. J. Daniels, Y. Wang, M. Y. Lee, A. R. Venkitaraman, Abnormal cytokinesis in cells deficient in the breast cancer susceptibility protein BRCA2. Science 306, 876-879 (2004). [Abstract] [Full Text]

J. Marx, Possible new role for BRCA2. Science 305, 1691 (2004). [Summary] [Full Text]

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