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Cell Growth Differ. 1999 Feb;10(2):87-92.

Analysis of the degradation function of Mdm2.

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ABL Basic Research Program, National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Frederick, Maryland 21702-1201, USA.


Degradation of the p53 tumor suppressor protein has been shown to be regulated by Mdm2. In this study, we identify regions of Mdm2 that are not required for p53 binding but are essential for degradation. Mdm2 mutants lacking these regions function in a dominant negative fashion, stabilizing endogenous p53 in cells by interfering with the degradative function of the endogenous Mdm2. p53 protein stabilized in this way does not strongly enhance the expression of p21(Waf1/Cip1), the product of a p53-responsive gene, supporting the model in which binding of Mdm2 to the NH2-terminal domain of p53 inhibits interaction with other components of the basal transcriptional machinery. Interestingly, COOH-terminal truncations of Mdm2 that retain p53 binding but fail to mediate its degradation are also stabilized themselves. Because Mdm2, like p53, is normally an unstable protein that is degraded through the proteasome, this result suggests a direct link between the regulation of Mdm2 and p53 stability.

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