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J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 13;279(7):5811-20. Epub 2003 Nov 5.

STAT-1 interacts with p53 to enhance DNA damage-induced apoptosis.

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  • 1Medical Molecular Biology Unit, Institute of Child Health, University College London, 30 Guilford Street, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.


The STAT-1 transcription factor has been implicated as a tumor suppressor by virtue of its ability to inhibit cell growth and promoting apoptosis. However, the mechanisms by which STAT-1 mediates these effects remain unclear. Using human and mouse STAT-1-deficient cells, we show here that STAT-1 is required for optimal DNA damage-induced apoptosis. The basal level of the p53 inhibitor Mdm2 is increased in STAT-1(-/-) cells, suggesting that STAT-1 is a negative regulator of Mdm2 expression. Correspondingly, both basal p53 levels, and those induced by DNA damage were lower in STAT-1(-/-) cells. In agreement with this lower p53 response to DNA damage in cells lacking STAT-1, the induction of p53 responsive genes, such as Bax, Noxa, and Fas, was reduced in STAT-1-deficient cells. Conversely, STAT-1 overexpression enhances transcription of these genes, an effect that is abolished if the p53 response element in their promoters is mutated. Moreover, STAT-1 interacts directly with p53, an association, which is enhanced following DNA damage. Therefore, in addition to negatively regulating Mdm2, STAT-1 also acts as a coactivator for p53. Hence STAT-1 is another member of a growing family of protein partners able to modulate the p53-activated apoptotic pathway.

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