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Oncogene. 1999 Nov 11;18(47):6411-8.

Induction of the TRAIL receptor KILLER/DR5 in p53-dependent apoptosis but not growth arrest.

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Department of Medicine, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Philadelphia 19104, USA.


The TRAIL death receptor KILLER/DR5 is induced by DNA damaging agents in wild-type p53-expressing cells. Here we show that, unlike the p53-target CDK-inhibitor p21WAF1/CIP1, the TRAIL death receptor KILLER/DR5 is only induced in cells undergoing p53-dependent apoptosis and not cell cycle arrest. Thus GM glioblastoma cells carrying an inducible MMTV-driven p53 gene undergo cell cycle arrest and upregulate p21 but not KILLER/DR5 expression upon dexamethasone exposure. WI38 normal lung fibroblasts undergoing cell cycle arrest in response to ionizing irradiation also induce p21 but not KILLER/DR5 gene expression. KILLER/DR5 upregulation is also deficient in irradiated lymphoblastoid cells derived from patients with Ataxia Teleangiectasia suggesting a role for the ATM-p53 pathway in regulating KILLER/DR5 expression after DNA damage. Inhibition of transcription by Actinomycin D blocks both KILLER/DR5 and p21 induction in cells undergoing p53-dependent apoptosis. Our results suggest that the p53-dependent transcriptional induction of KILLER/DR5 death receptor is restricted to cells undergoing apoptosis and not cells undergoing exclusively p53-dependent G1 arrest.

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