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EMBO J. 2011 Jul 26;30(16):3397-415. doi: 10.1038/emboj.2011.248.

p53 directly suppresses BNIP3 expression to protect against hypoxia-induced cell death.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Conservation of Aquatic Organisms, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, PR China.

Abstract

Hypoxia stabilizes the tumour suppressor p53, allowing it to function primarily as a transrepressor; however, the function of p53 during hypoxia remains unclear. In this study, we showed that p53 suppressed BNIP3 expression by directly binding to the p53-response element motif and recruiting corepressor mSin3a to the BNIP3 promoter. The DNA-binding site of p53 must remain intact for the protein to suppress the BNIP3 promoter. In addition, taking advantage of zebrafish as an in vivo model, we confirmed that zebrafish nip3a, a homologous gene of mammalian BNIP3, was indeed induced by hypoxia and p53 mutation/knockdown enhanced nip3a expression under hypoxia resulted in cell death enhancement in p53 mutant embryos. Furthermore, p53 protected against hypoxia-induced cell death mediated by p53 suppression of BNIP3 as illustrated by p53 knockdown/loss assays in both human cell lines and zebrafish model, which is in contrast to the traditional pro-apoptotic role of p53. Our results suggest a novel function of p53 in hypoxia-induced cell death, leading to the development of new treatments for ischaemic heart disease and cerebral stroke.

PMID:
21792176
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3160666
Free PMC Article
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