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Silencing of the tumor suppressor protein BRCA2 and its detection by conventional biochemical analyses represent a great technical challenge owing to the large size of the human BRCA2 protein (approximately 390 kDa). We report modifications of standard siRNA transfection and immunoblotting protocols to silence human BRCA2 and detect endogenous BRCA2 protein, respectively, in human epithelial cell lines. Key steps include a high siRNA to transfection reagent ratio and two subsequent rounds of siRNA transfection within the same experiment. Using these and other modifications to the standard protocol we consistently achieve more than 70% silencing of the human BRCA2 gene as judged by immunoblotting analysis with anti-BRCA2 antibodies. In addition, denaturation of the cell lysates at 55 °C instead of the conventional 70-100 °C and other technical optimizations of the immunoblotting procedure allow detection of intact BRCA2 protein even when very low amounts of starting material are available or when BRCA2 protein expression levels are very low. Efficient silencing of BRCA2 in human cells offers a valuable strategy to disrupt BRCA2 function in cells with intact BRCA2, including tumor cells, to examine new molecular pathways and cellular functions that may be affected by pathogenic BRCA2 mutations in tumors. Adaptation of this protocol for efficient silencing and analysis of other 'large' proteins like BRCA2 should be readily achievable.


Loredana Moro, Nicoletta Guaragnella, Sergio Giannattasio. Silencing of BRCA2 to Identify Novel BRCA2-regulated Biological Functions in Cultured Human Cells. Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE. 2015(102):e52849

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PMID: 26327352

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