Author(s): Zhang XP, Liu F, Wang W
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The tumor suppressor p53 mainly induces cell cycle arrest/DNA repair or apoptosis in the DNA damage response. How to choose between these two outcomes is not fully understood. We proposed a four-module model of the p53 signaling network and associated the network dynamics with cellular outcomes after ionizing radiation. We found that the cellular response is mediated by both the level and posttranslational modifications of p53 and that p53 is activated in a progressive manner. First, p53 is partially activated by primary modifications such as phosphorylation at Ser-15/20 to induce cell cycle arrest, with its level varying in a series of pulses. If the damage cannot be fixed after a critical number of p53 pulses, then p53 is fully activated by further modifications such as phosphorylation at Ser-46 to trigger apoptosis, with its concentration switching to rather high levels. Thus, p53 undergoes a two-phase response in irreparably damaged cells. Such combinations of pulsatile and switch-like behaviors of p53 may represent a flexible and efficient control mode, avoiding the premature apoptosis and promoting the execution of apoptosis. In our model, p53 pulses are recurrently driven by ataxia telangiectasia mutated (ATM) pulses triggered by DNA damage. The p53-Mdm2 and ATM-p53-Wip1 negative feedback loops are responsible for p53 pulses, whereas the switching behavior occurs when the p53-PTEN-Akt-Mdm2 positive feedback loop becomes dominant. Our results suggest that a sequential predominance of distinct feedback loops may elicit multiple-phase dynamical behaviors. This work provides a new mechanism for p53 dynamics and cell fate decision.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis