The Chinese hamster cell mutant V-C8 is defective in the Brca2 gene (Kraakman-van der Zwet et al., 2002, Cell Biol.; 22: 669). Here we report that V-C8 cells were 10-fold more sensitive to camptothecin, an inhibitor of topoisomerase I, than the parental V79 cells. The level of the relaxation activity of topoisomerase I in nuclear extracts was also lower (4-fold) in V-C8 than V79 cells, in spite of the fact that the level of the topoisomerase I protein was the same in these cells. The survival of V-C8 cells in the presence of camptothecin, the sensitivity of V-C8 topoisomerase I to camptothecin, and the level of the relaxation activity in V-C8 nuclear extract were almost completely restored by transfection of V-C8 cells with the murine Brca2 gene or by the transfer of human chromosome 13 providing the BRCA2 gene. These results indicate that the observed changes in the topoisomerase I activity in V-C8 are due to the defective function of the Brca2 gene.