Author(s): Zhou X, Wang XW, Xu L, Hagiwara K, Nagashima M,
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Abstract The tumor suppressor protein p53 contributes to the control of cell cycle checkpoints and stress-induced apoptosis and is frequently mutated in many different types of human cancers. The COOH terminus of p53 modulates the transcriptional and apoptotic activities of the protein. Although COOH-terminal mutants of p53 are uncommon, we proposed that these p53 mutants nevertheless contributed to the selective clonal expansion of the cancer cells. Therefore, we analyzed the tumor-derived p53 COOH-terminal domain (CTD) mutants (352D/H, 356G/W, 342-stop, 360-del, and 387-del) functionally. The results have revealed that all mutants have impaired apoptotic activity when compared with wild-type p53. However, some of these mutants still transcriptionally transactivate p21Waf/Cip1 and inhibit cell growth. Interestingly, of the tumor-derived CTD mutants, oligomerization-defective mutant 342-stop was the only one that did not exhibit sequence-specific DNA binding or failed to transactivate p21Waf1/Cip1, Bax, and IGF-BP3 transcriptionally. The failure to inhibit cell growth by this tumor-derived CTD mutant supports the hypothesis that p53 sequence-specific transcriptional transactivity to p21Waf1/Cip1 is correlated with induction of cell cycle arrest and that the p53 transcriptional transactivity requires oligomerization of the p53 protein. These and other data indicate that the CTD of p53 is an important component of p53-mediated apoptosis and cell growth arrest and that inactivation of the apoptotic function, but not the inhibition of growth, is an important step during human tumorigenesis.
This article was published in Cancer Res
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology