Embryonic stem cells deficient for Brca2 or Blm exhibit divergent genotoxic profiles that support opposing activities during homologous recombination

Teresa Marple, Tae Moon Kim, Paul Hasty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations


The breast cancer susceptibility protein, Brca2 and the RecQ helicase, Blm (Bloom syndrome mutated) are tumor suppressors that maintain genome integrity, at least in part, through homologous recombination (HR). Brca2 facilitates HR by interacting with Rad51 in multiple regions, the BRC motifs encoded by exon 11 and a single domain encoded by exon 27; however, the exact importance of these regions is not fully understood. Blm also interacts with Rad51 and appears to suppress HR in most circumstances; however, its yeast homologue Sgs1 facilitates HR in response to some genotoxins. To better understand the biological importance of these two proteins, we performed a genotoxic screen on mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells impaired for either Brca2 or Blm to establish their genotoxic profiles (a cellular dose-response to a wide range of agents). This is the first side-by-side comparison of these two proteins in an identical genetic background. We compared cells deleted for Brca2 exon 27 to cells reduced for Blm expression and find that the Brca2- and Blm-impaired cells exhibit genotoxic profiles that reflect opposing activities during HR. Cells deleted for Brca2 exon 27 are hypersensitive to γ-radiation, streptonigrin, mitomycin C and camptothecin and mildly resistant to ICRF-193 which is similar to HR defective cells null for Rad54. By contrast, Blm-impaired cells are hypersensitive to ICRF-193, mildly resistant to camptothecin and mitomycin C and more strongly resistant to hydroxyurea. These divergent profiles support the notion that Brca2 and Blm perform opposing functions during HR in mouse ES cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110-120
Number of pages11
JournalMutation Research - Fundamental and Molecular Mechanisms of Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006



  • Bloom's syndrome
  • Brca2
  • Genotoxic screen
  • Homologous recombination
  • Rad54

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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