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Genes Dev. 2004 Dec 15;18(24):3041-54.

p73 induction after DNA damage is regulated by checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027, USA.


The checkpoint kinases Chk1 and Chk2 are central to the induction of cell cycle arrest, DNA repair, and apoptosis as elements in the DNA-damage checkpoint. We report here that in several human tumor cell lines, Chk1 and Chk2 control the induction of the p53 related transcription factor p73 in response to DNA damage. Multiple experimental systems were used to show that interference with or augmentation of Chk1 or Chk2 signaling strongly impacts p73 accumulation. Furthermore, Chk1 and Chk2 control p73 mRNA accumulation after DNA damage. We demonstrate as well that E2F1 directs p73 expression in the presence and absence of DNA damage. Chk1 and Chk2, in turn, are vital to E2F1 stabilization and activity after genotoxic stress. Thus, Chk1, Chk2, E2F1, and p73 function in a pathway mediating p53-independent cell death produced by cytotoxic drugs. Since p53 is often obviated through mutation as a cellular port for anticancer intervention, this pathway controlling p53 autonomous pro-apoptotic signaling is of potential therapeutic importance.

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