When the BRCA2 gene is functioning correctly, it is thought to participate in DNA repair. However, studying its role has faced obstacles without sufficient quantities of functional protein to work with. The achievement of the lab led by Prof. Stephen Kowalczykowski should find numerous applications in research and commercially, such as production of antibodies for testing kits, drug screening and understanding how specific mutations affect the BRCA2 protein’s ability to function.
Previous attempts at expressing the gene in bacteria, yeast and insect cells encountered problems like low yields, and protein insolubility and degradation. The new method overcomes these problems and ensures that the protein has undergone the right post-translational modifications and folding.