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Oncogene. 2006 Apr 6;25(15):2148-59.

AP2alpha alters the transcriptional activity and stability of p53.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


AP2alpha and p53 form nuclear complexes that establish a functional partnership, which regulates the expression of certain genes involved in cell growth and metastasis. The growth effects of AP2alpha are mediated through p21WAF1/CIP1 and the ability for AP2alpha to coactivate p21 requires p53. Herein, we have localized the AP2-binding region of p53 to amino acids 305-375. Analysis of 26 distinct p53 alleles established a correlation between AP2alpha binding and transcriptional coactivation. The L350P point mutation was the only nonbinding allele that retained normal transcriptional activity by reporter assay. Although both wild-type and L350P alleles facilitated binding of AP2alpha to the p21 promoter, the L350P allele was significantly reduced in its ability to induce the endogenous p21 gene, demonstrating a striking difference in activity comparing reporter assays with activation of endogenous p53 target genes. Interestingly, expression of AP2 in the absence of radiation repressed p53-mediated induction of p21 and this effect was explained by a reduction in p53 stability induced by AP2alpha overexpression. We conclude that AP2alpha has competing effects on p53 activity through coactivation and decreased stability. These findings may provide a mechanism to account for the discrepancies reported for the association between AP2 and p21 expression in tumor tissue.

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