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Curr Biol. 1999 Jul 29-Aug 12;9(15):829-32.

MDM2 and MDMX bind and stabilize the p53-related protein p73.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, OX1 3QU, UK.


The p53 gene encodes one of the most important tumor suppressors in human cells and undergoes frequent mutational inactivation in cancers. MDM2, a transcriptional target of p53, binds p53 and can both inhibit p53-mediated transcription [1] [2] and target p53 for proteasome-mediated proteolysis [3] [4]. A close relative of p53, p73, has recently been identified [5] [6]. Here, we report that, like p53, p73alpha and the alternative transcription product p73beta also bind MDM2. Interaction between MDM2 and p53 represents a key step in the regulation of p53, as MDM2 promotes the degradation of p53. In striking contrast to p53, the half-life of p73 was found to be increased by binding to MDM2. Like MDM2, the MDM2-related protein MDMX also bound p73 and stabilized the level of p73. Moreover, the growth suppression functions of p73 and the induction of endogenous p21, a major mediator of the p53-dependent growth arrest pathway, were enhanced in the presence of MDM2. These differences between the regulation of p53 and p73 by MDM2/MDMX may highlight a physiological difference in their action.

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