Characterization of BRCA2 R3052Q variant in mice supports its functional impact as a low-risk variant

Cell Death Dis. 2023 Nov 18;14(11):753. doi: 10.1038/s41419-023-06289-8.


Pathogenic variants in BRCA2 are known to significantly increase the lifetime risk of developing breast and ovarian cancers. Sequencing-based genetic testing has resulted in the identification of thousands of BRCA2 variants that are considered to be variants of uncertain significance (VUS) because the disease risk associated with them is unknown. One such variant is p.Arg3052Gln, which has conflicting interpretations of pathogenicity in the ClinVar variant database. Arginine at position 3052 in BRCA2 plays an important role in stabilizing its C-terminal DNA binding domain. We have generated a knock-in mouse model expressing this variant to examine its role on growth and survival in vivo. Homozygous as well as hemizygous mutant mice are viable, fertile and exhibit no overt phenotype. While we did not observe any hematopoietic defects in adults, we did observe a marked reduction in the in vitro proliferative ability of fetal liver cells that were also hypersensitive to PARP inhibitor, olaparib. In vitro studies performed on embryonic and adult fibroblasts derived from the mutant mice showed significant reduction in radiation induced RAD51 foci formation as well as increased genomic instability after mitomycin C treatment. We observed mis-localization of a fraction of R3052Q BRCA2 protein to the cytoplasm which may explain the observed in vitro phenotypes. Our findings suggest that BRCA2 R3052Q should be considered as a hypomorphic variant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents*
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA2 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA2 Protein / metabolism
  • Breast Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Genetic Testing
  • Homozygote
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Ovarian Neoplasms* / genetics


  • BRCA2 Protein
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • BRCA1 Protein
  • BRCA2 protein, human